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Enugu Gov’t approves 15000 hectares for food security, seals PPP deal with Ugwuanama Farms

 

 

As one of the measures to ensure food security and sufficiency in the state, the administration of Governor Peter Mbah has approved the leasing of 15000 hectares of land for Ugwuanama Farms Limited for agricultural production in Isi-Uzo local government area of the state.

 

The state government, which also sealed a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the company through the execution of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), stated that the farmland would be used specifically for the industrial cultivation of cassava, rice, maize, banana plantation, oil palm production, yam, and other produce.

 

Speaking shortly after signing the MoU on Tuesday at the Government House, Enugu, the state governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, described the partnership as a significant milestone towards achieving the promise of the government to create an enabling environment for agro-industrialisation.

 

Governor Mbah, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Chidiebere Onyia, said the government was expecting to see those milestones earlier agreed with the Farms as a partnership, adding that an increased yield in the state production will increase Enugu’s gross domestic products (GDP).

 

He stressed that the state has both comparative and competitive advantages in some mainstream crops because of its arable land, which would also create jobs and raise the purchasing power of the people.

 

Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of Ugwuanama Farms Limited, Alhaji Sanni Nnaji, disclosed that they had started cultivation and production on a large scale. “As we are producing, we will also be processing. Our target is to crash the cost of food so that we have cheap food affordable for everyone to eat.

 

“Again, our aim is to get our growers, get youths, women back to farm. Apart from 15000 hectares, I have done it in Isi-uzo with 1,500 farmers and we are going to increase our workforce. We are going to have over 5,000 farmers cultivating their own farmlands. We already established a cassava processing plant in Isi-Uzo and we have cultivated cassava of more than 1000 hectares. So, when cassava is due for processing, we will start cultivation immediately.”

 

Nnaji said they focused mainly on rice, cassava, oil palm, maize and yam production, expressing the possibility of expanding their cultivation and production.

 

On the number of jobs to be created, Nnaji explained that they were expecting between 200,000 to 300,000 jobs within the next two years.

 

Also speaking on the management of the farms, he said they had plans to bring in expatriates for their technical-know-how. “We have a lot of partners who are coming .We are bringing in a lot of machines. We are going to develop a very good smart farm in Isi-Uzo”.

 

On his part, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro-industrialization, Engr. Patrick Ubru, said the state government has ensured adequate security (military base) in Isi-Uzo council area for the protection and safety of lives and business.

 

He added that the government was doing enough to make the state attractive to investors by derisking investment flow. “The government is acquiring the land, making it available for farmers in commercial quantity, and also creating access road to facilitate movements”.

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