The Cassava City in Osara, Kogi State, has received a boost following arrangements by Contec Global, Geron Oil & Gas and Jil Farms to invest about $25 million in the cassava farms.
The director of Contec Global, Dr Sashi Mozumder, who made this known at the Cassava City Day held at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja, said his company, in partnership with Geron Oil & Gas, Praj India and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), will be producing 40,000 litres of bio-ethanol per day.
He said, “The investment start-up on a turnkey basis is $25 million. The plant will employ over 2,500 people on a full time basis.
“Contec consortium will provide inputs to farmers who will serve as out-growers for the scheme. They will also provide basic infrastructure such as rural roads, power and health centres.”
The managing director, Geron Oil & Gas, Mr Haruna Madisca, and Mr Yakubu Danjuma, representing NNPC Renewable Energy Department, confirmed the commitment of their organisations to the project, saying the environmental impact assessment and soil tests are currently ongoing.
Also, the managing director of JIL farmers, Dr Ayoade Akere, said his firm would be investing in cattle production in the cassava city and would derive most of their feedstock from cassava.
He disclosed that they had already performed major corporate social responsibility projects in education and health care within the cassava city.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, through its representative, Messrs Onoja Enenche, stated that it had already verified over 240 farmers for the Cassava City to access the Enhanced Anchor Borrowers Programme.
The Kogi State commissioner for agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, eulogised Governor Yahaya Bello and reiterated his commitment to transforming agriculture in the state with emphasis on cassava “since Kogi is the leading cassava producing state in Nigeria, with production of 4 million MT per annum to the nation’s 58 million MT per annum.”
The state coordinator, APPEALS Projects, Dr Sanni Ozomata, stated that the World Bank project will support the cassava city in terms of infrastructure and value addition.
UNICANE and Crest Agro, which currently own large ethanol companies in Kogi State, expressed their delight at the project, saying the cassava city will provide more feedstock for their operations.
The managing director of Kogi Agricultural Development Project (ADP), Mr Okatayi, said with the success story of the Cassava City, the concept would be replicated across Kogi with maize, rice and other crops.
“I implore all stakeholder to remain studious and trust in God. The investors had proof of capital, and the government’s and community’s equity in the investment will primarily be land. Cassava city is a gateway to employment and prosperity in Kogi State,” he said.