Firm, foreign investor partner on cassava project in Enugu
This will be achieved through partnership between a Nigerian company and a foreign investor.
A total of 11,000 hectares of cassava farms, in 22 locations of 500 hectares per cluster farm in the state is being targeted.
Announcing the “Enugu Cassava Project,” in the state, Chairman of Belform Commercial Agriculture Company Limited (BCACL), Mr. Martins Okwor hinted that the project was in partnership with Bimal Kishor Dhunna of United Kingdom, his company, and other local partners.
Okwor said the project had already started in Ikem, Isi Uzo Local Council Area of the state, aimed at empowering women and youth farmers with all assistance in producing large quantity cassava for both local and export needs.
According to him, the project was for small and marginal farmers, ensuring that farming continues to remain a financially viable activity, availing to farmers’ modern inclusive production services.
He said the project has been unveiled to the state government, which expressed appreciation for the investment and has shown readiness to offer all support necessary for the actualisation of the project.
Okwor said the company will fully develop land and assign specific plots to local farmers; provide seedlings, equipment, expertise, management control and training facilities for the farmers to optimise production.
He said: “It is a community based project in which the local farmers will be assisted to increase their productivity through fully mechanised system.
It is targeted at young people and women to enhance their potentials and expose them to modern technology and techniques of agriculture for full commercial ventures.
“Our principal aim is to increase food production, generate rural-based income, employment and generate foreign exchange through export of processed derivatives of cassava and other crops.
“BCACL will buy the produce from the farmers at going market prices for further processing and export.
It is a direct partnership with farmers where they own the farms and the company facilitates production through direct assistance.”
He noted that the investors play the role of “aggregator and off-takers,” and do not own or lease land or displace settlements or vulnerable groups in this project.
The chairman stressed that the project envisages production of consistent, reliable and timely stream of cassava to the markets, reducing post-harvest losses; facilitate consolidation of produce by farmers’ cooperative societies and that of the investors.
“For the past 15 years, Belform Nigeria Ltd. has been actively involved in agriculture in Enugu State, resulting in establishment of the first and only commercial cocoa plantation at Ikem. The cocoa project is an empowerment for local young people that engage in cocoa farming and other agricultural activities.
“We provide free seedlings, technical expertise, and finance, among others, which made for more than 50 young people owning various sizes of cocoa, plantain and banana plantations in the area,” Okwor further disclosed.
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