BusinessDay

Ellah Lakes Plc takes over Adarice farms for expansion

Ellah Lakes Plc has taken over of the management and operations of Adarice Farms & Associated assets from Enugu state government for optimal expansion.

The formal hand over event by Forster Aniebonam Okonkwo, Executive Secretary of Enugu State Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation was held on Thursday at Adani community in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of the state.

This is following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ellah Lakes Plc and Enugu State Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation in december last year.

Adarice Farms, a 5000 hectare farming estate that has a diversion dam and a 15km main canal for irrigation was also officially handed over by the government to the company in the presence of Asaba community traditional ruler, Igwe Iloegbuna Ezeigbo and others.

The community and the local rice farmers in the area were overwhelmed that the Adarice Farms with also secondary distribution canals, to enable farming all year round will be back into operation.

The farm has operated suboptimally for several years and the Adani Staple Crop Processing Zone Food Company (Adani SCPZ) a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), has been set up to oversee and manage the farm and its activities”.

Speaking on the development, the Chief Executive Officer, Chuka Mordi said: “Today is a great day for the company, and we have achieved yet another of our set milestones for 2022.”

Mordi said the company was ready to commence the management and turn around of the fortunes of Adarice farms, and willfully intend to take the farm to new heights with the cultivation and processing of rice, soybean and cassava.

“Ultimately, the plan is to turn the entire area into a Staple Crop Processing Zone &bring economic growth and prosperity to the entire sub region,” he said.

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“Ellah Lakes Plc. is a Nigerian agribusiness that is currently specializing in oil palm, cassava and soybean cultivation,” he said.

According to him, the company is expanding operations in Edo, Enugu and Ondo states. It was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Jan. 14, 1993.

“Ellah Lakes PLC has brought empowerment to the communities in which it operates and is diversifying across oil palm, cassava, maize, rice and soybean value chains

“Our hope is to revive Adarice Farms, bring it back to its glory and expand it significantly and turning it into a processing hub for eastern region. We are ready to start operation,” he added.

Mordi assured the host community that it has well packaged programs in its corporate social responsibility for them.

“We are not going to disappointed the state government on the MOU contract terms.

Mr Paul Farrier, Deputy Managing Director of the company said that it expected a smooth transaction of agricbussiness with Enugu state government.

“It is a fantastic opportunity. The out- growers and others are going to be taken into confidence,” he said.

Hon. Forster Aniebonam Okonkwo, Executive Secretary of Enugu State Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, said the state government has successfully transferred Adarice Farms to Ellah Lakes PLC.

“It may interest you to know that in December 2021 that the committee approved the possession agreement with the company to jointly expand and develop Adarice Production Nigeria Ltd., and we are here to perfect the transferring to Ellah Lakes PLC.

“They are properly verified and we discovered that Ellah Lakes PLC is agribusiness company quoted in the Nigeria Stock Exchange and they have extensive, experience and knowledge in agriculture business in Nigeria.

“What happened after the council approved the concession agreement, the technical committee went ahead to enter into MOU with Ellah Lakes PLC.

“Consequent upon the MOU, a special purpose vehicle was formed, and that special purpose vehicle was indeed the component we are handing over Adarice called Adarice Staple Corps Processing Zone Food Coy. Ltd.

“It is joint venture between the state government and Ellah Lakes PLC, but before then it was exclusively the property of Enugu state, Okonkwo said.

He said that Adarice had operated optimally in several years in line with agric business of the current administration of Enugu state.

“It became desirable to concession Adarice to a company to manage, maintain and produce new facilities for optimum utilization of the farm.

“We have a contract documents which clearly stipulates our relationship with them and we know what happens when there is a failure for any of the parties to deliver on contracts.

“We will take it up from there. We have an MOU and subsequently we are going to develop a transaction document or value,” he said.

Igwe Iloegbuna, commended the state government for the initiative, while calling on the company not to renege on their social responsibility promises to the community.

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