By Ifeanyi Olannye
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa has injected N8 billion sourced from the Central Bank of Nigeria into the Agro-Industrial Park project in Aboh-Ogwashi in Aniocha South Local Government Area.
Mr Charles Aniagwu, the state Commissioner for Information, said this on Tuesday during an inspection tour of the project.
He added that the project partners were also coming in with their resources to fund and develop the park.
According to him, the agro-industrial park will be a catalyst for economic transformation in the state as it is a strong commitment of Okowa’s administration to grow a Delta economy not dependent on oil.
Aniagwu said when completed, the park would provide agro-processing value-chain services to farmers in the state.
“Delta has been known for oil but we have also said that this is the time to move beyond oil and that it is not going to be mere rhetoric.
“We have come here today to see for ourselves what we have done so far with respect to the Delta Agro-Industrial Park.
“We believe that by the time the park comes fully on stream, farmers within the environment and in different parts of the state will take advantage of the different factories and industries located in it for processing their produce.
“Our people lose value of their produce because of lack of processing facilities and I am glad that this industrial park will bring in additional value for our farmers when completed and inaugurated,” he said.
Aniagwu said that the park would also enhance the capacity of farmers who will take advantage of the mechanisation that would take place at the park.
He said that when the park is completed and started operations, it would take Delta far from what it used to be.
Aniagwu said that although companies were shutting down, people must still eat in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
He added that the government believed that the industrial park would be the next frontier for Delta.
On his part, Prof. Eric Eboh, Chief Job Creation Officer, Delta State Bureau for Job Creation, said that the project was well conceived to provide a one-stop-shop solution for farmers and industrialists in the state.
Eboh said that the essence of the project was to provide a safe operating space for agro-allied industries and factories to process agricultural raw materials into edible or finished products.
“Lack of processing facilities is one of the missing links in the agricultural value-chain, so it is expected that this Agro-Industrial Park will be a game changer for Delta.
“It is one of its kind in the country and it has great prospects for the turnaround of the agricultural economy of the state,’’ he said.
Eboh said that the park was a multi-purpose agro-industrial park which would accommodate agro-processing of different agricultural products whether root or tuber crops, grains and livestock, among others.
“In terms of the potential impact, it is humongous – social, economic and developmental – to the agricultural value-chain of Delta.
“The benefits of the project have been validated by National and International Financing Organisations and we are confident that this project will stand the test of time even after Okowa’s exit as governor,” he said.
The Project Coordinator, Mr Ran Yogev of Sequoia Group, said that the site is 220 hectares and was selected because of its nearness to the Ogwashi-Uku Dam.
He added that the engineering, procurement and construction of the project were expected to be completed within 18 months. (NAN).