BusinessDay

Norsworthy partners Delta to tackle food insecurity in Nigeria

Norsworthy Agro-Allied Company Limited is working with the Delta State government to build a multibillion-naira agro-allied industrial palm plantation on 1,400 hectares of land owned by Akwukwu-Igbo, Ugbolu, and Ilah communities in the Oshimili North Local Area of the state.

The oil mill plantation, whose idea was conceived with the dual purpose of job provision for the youth and tackling the menace of food insecurity in the nation, was recently inspected by Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta State; and Gabriel Ogbechie, chairman of Norsworthy Agro-Allied Company Limited.

Others at the inspection were traditional leaders of the community and the staff and management of the company, according to a statement.

Speaking at the inspection of the oil palm plantation and refinery under construction, Ogbechie thanked the governor for his support and vision for the project.

He said the company planned to expand further with the acquisition of additional 600 hectares of land at Ubulu-Uku in the Aniocha South Local Government Area, and affirmed its commitment to supporting the Delta State government’s diversification plans in the sector.

He said the project, which was conceived about four years ago, would help to address the crisis affecting agricultural development, food sufficiency needs of the country, adding that the company had successfully planted over 250,000 oil palm trees on over 1,400 hectares of land.

Read also: How Nigeria, others can avoid chronic food insecurity – IMF

“If the global palm oil market demand is anything to go by, there is undoubtedly the need for any wise investor like Norsworthy to cash in on the existing opportunity to put their money where the returns on investment would certainly be in high digits,” Ogbechie added.

In his remarks, Okowa called for more investments in agricultural development to curb rising food insufficiency in Nigeria.

He described oil palm production as one area that wealthy Deltans and Nigerians could invest in to create job opportunities and economic development for the people.

Okowa said he believed in the partnership because it would help the immediate community and the environment, while he noted that no fewer than 300 workers were engaged on a daily basis by the company.

He commended the management and staff of Norsworthy Farms, the Obi of Akuku-Igbo, and the people of Illah for their support and cooperation towards the successful take-off of the project.

He said: “As a state government we believe in this worthy partnership because beyond the fact that it will help to grow the economy of this environment and also help the immediate communities that are around here, we are very mindful of the fact that it is going to generate a lot of employment for our people.

“I have been told that on average, 300 persons are working on a daily basis in this place and I believe that when the mill comes on stream, we are going to have more persons engaged. There is going to be a lot of multiplier effects and that’s what we are set out to achieve.”

He added that the partnership would create more opportunities for out-growers, especially in the oil palm development value-chain, and urged Deltans to key into the opportunity provided by the partnership.

“This will help to increase the funding available to families who are ready to partner with the farm. And that is the key point in oil palm development. I believe that if we are able to ensure that partnership, a lot of our families will benefit more than they are now in the next few years,” Okowa said.

He also said that the construction of the 13.5km Ugbolu-Akwukwu-Igbo road by his administration would enhance quick access to the farm for the economic development of the area.

The governor said: “We have also ensured that this place is not restricted by poor road access, we did our commitment by constructing this road which is about 13.5kms long and I have been told by the contractor that by December, he would have finished the road.

“I am glad to hear that Norsworthy wants to expand more and more and in partnership with the state government, they have gotten land at Ubulu-uku. I am looking forward to it and hoping that they would even expand beyond that.”

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