Training in cassava factory for 1,000 ex-agitators
•NDDC Supports Niger Delta Farmers On Rice Production
At least, 1,000 ex-agitators and delegates of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) will commence training at the Bayelsa State Cassava Processing Factory soonest.
The Project Management Consultant of the facility, Mr. Adebowale Ayoade, who disclosed this in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, explained that after the training, the ex-agitators would become out-growers of cassava stems to feed the factory and in turn, boost the economy of the region, and foster food security.
Ayoade, who described the facility as the biggest industrial starch plant in Nigeria and the second largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, said trainees would receive theoretical and practical trainings on cassava cultivation, starch processing and management.
The project manager and the Interim Administrator, PAP, Col. Miland Dixon Dikio (retd), represented by his Special Assistant on Projects, Godwin Ekpo, recently inspected the multi-billion naira factory, located at Ebedebiri, Sagabama, Bayelsa State.
He said the facility would buy all the cassava from the farms to be established by the trained delegates, adding that resource persons certified by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) would handle the training.
He said, “The factory can do 60,000 metric tons of industrial starch working at a single shift of 250 days in a year and what that translates to is that we need about 200,000 tons of cassava to feed it. We need to farm on 10, 000 hectares of land.”
In a similar development, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has charged the firm running its multi-million-naira rice mill at Elele-Alimini, in Emohua Local Council of Rivers State, the Elephant Group, to encourage local farmers in the Niger Delta to be fully engaged in the production of paddies.
A statement issued by the NDDC Director Corporate Affairs, Dr Ibitoye Abosede, said the NDDC Interim Administrator, Dr. Efiong Akwa, spoke after inspecting the six-tonne-per-hour rice mill and called for a more robust engagement with local rice farmers in the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer, who was represented by the Commission’s Director of Agriculture, Dr. Luke Ibanga, said the facility, leased to the Elephant Group in 2017, would create more job opportunities for youths in the Niger Delta region.
Akwa decried the low level of involvement of local rice farmers in the value chain of the mill, noting that part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed by the NDDC and the Elephant Group, required the active participation of rice farmers in the region.