Delta State Government on Tuesday said the Agro-Industrial Park being established in Aboh-Ogwashi in Aniocha South Local Government Area would be a catalyst for economic transformation in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said this during an inspection tour of the project noting that it was a strong commitment of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration to grow a Delta economy not dependent on oil.
According to Aniagwu, the Park would provide agro-processing value-chain services to farmers in the state that has been known for oil saying this is the time to move beyond oil which is not going to be mere rhetorics.
“We have come here today to see for ourselves what we have done so far with respect to Delta Agro-Industrial Park.
“You have seen the location and we believe that by the time the park comes fully on stream, a number of our farmers who farm within the environment of the park and those who farm or grow their crops in different parts of the state will take advantage of the different factories and industries to be located in this industrial park for processing what they have.
“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.
“The park will also enhance the capacity of a number of farmers who will take advantage of the mechanisation that will take place here and we are quite convinced that this park will soon take off, and it will take Delta far from what it used to be,” he said.
On funding for the project, Aniagwu said N8 billion had been sourced from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and that the project partners were also coming in with their resources to develop the park.
“Companies are shutting down but people must eat in the midst of the pandemic because we believe that this industrial park will be the next frontier for Delta,” he stated.
On his part, Professor 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 to farmers and industrialists in the state.
Eboh pointed out 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’s 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 turn-around of the agricultural economy of the state,’’ he said.
He explained 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, 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 Organizations and we are confident that this project will stand the test of time even after Okowa’s exit as governor,” Eboh stated.
The Coordinator of the Project, Ran Yogev Sequoia Group, said that the site was 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.