Southern Kaduna to host $120m rice, potatoes plant

Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, has announced the establishment of the biggest West Africa multi- billion naira French Rice and Potatoes processing plant in Manchok, Kaura Council Area of Southern part of the state.

The processing plant after completion will offer 30,000 direct jobs to the teaming unemployed youths in the state.

Addressing a news conference in Kaduna heralding the ground breaking of the plant scheduled for this week, state Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Manzo Maigari, said 5,000 hectres of land in each local government area would be allocated to community on the best ways of planting potatoes.

He explained that as one of the steps to empower farmers in the state, VICAMPRO, owner of the processing plant will buy the potatoes from the farmers for its massive production as 60 percent of the products would be exported.

Maigari added that governor el-Rufai’s economic diversification drive would extend to other crops to revive the current economic challenges facing the country and the state.

The commissioner said: “Since the coming of this government, we came with a goal and determination infarming. What we did is by  organising farmers into cooperatives,commodity interest groups and the rest, but we look at things critically and we decided that everything we are going to do in agriculture.

“We have to have some value added which will beprivate sector driven, so we are lucky to have VICAMPRO with an investment worth $120m coming into Kaduna State to process French rice and potatoes, but what are the gains for us, with this investment weare looking at 30,000 direct jobs, we are also working closely with them to see how we can develop out growers network across allthe local  government areas that has suitable soil to grow potatoes.

“Another benefit is that it will help us to standardise our farm practice in the state.”

On his part, Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency, KADIPA, Gambo Hamza, said the Kaduna Investment Summit held some months ago has started yielding results with the launch of French rice/potatoes processing plant noting that Olam had launched biggest poultry/hatchery in Sub-Sahara Africa in Kaduna.