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Private sector’s N29bn investment boosts Obaseki’s agric reforms in oil palm, rubber plantation

Edo State government on Friday said the private sector investment of over N29 billion into oil palm and rubber plantation development has boosted its reforms in the agricultural sector in the last three years.

A statement by Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to Governor Godwin Obaseki, said the investment was in furtherance of the governor’s vision to transform Edo State into an investment hub.
According to him, in the last three years and seven months, the government has created an enabling business environment that has made the state a darling for investors looking to develop plantations.

He explained that the key investors in the state’s private-sector-led plantation development include Dufil Prima Foods and Rubber Estates Nigeria Limited.

“Dufil Prima Foods would be investing $600 million (N23.2bn) in pursuit of its backward integration programme by setting up a 17,954 hectares of oil palm plantation in 14 communities in Ovia North East Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

“The Rubber Estates Nigeria Limited is expending N5.1 billion in reviving Urhonigbe Rubber Estate, in Orionmwon LGA, which has created jobs and improved livelihoods in the target and surrounding communities,” he said.

Speaking at Dufil Prima Foods Plc project, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Madhukar Khetan, said the project marks another significant milestone in the company’s commitment to attaining a further backward integrated and self-sustaining status that supports the Nigerian economy by creating employment opportunities and reducing importation, in a sustainable manner.

Khetan, added that the company has undertaken a crop compensation exercise in the affected communities, which paves way for the oil palm plantation project that will include installation of an integrated palm oil mill.

He noted that the next step after the compensation exercise is the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as well as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) mandatory assessments and development of nursery.

Also speaking, the managing director of Rubber Estates Nigeria Limited, Philippe Carty, said the planting operation will be in two phases as the first will cover 1,300 hectares while the second will cover 1,000 hectares.

Carty said the company will be investing about N5.1 billion in Urhonigbe Rubber Plantation and a total of 350 workers will be employed in the plantation.

Other key investors in the state’s booming plantation farming sector include Nosak Group; Presco Plc; Okomu Plc, among others.

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