Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Plateau state government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Oil and Chemical International, a member of the Duncan Group of companies, to set up a 40 tonnes fertiliser blending plant in Foron in Barkin Ladi local government area of the state.
The state Commissioner of Commerce, Ezekiel Daju, who signed on behalf of the state government, said the occasion was another milestone in the Governor Simon Lalong’s – led administration.
He said: “As we all know, most citizens of our state are farmers and fertiliser is an essential ingredient in Agriculture. Due to the fallen price of oil, the state government has keyed into diversification and our Governor, Simon Lalong has vowed to transform the Agriculture sector in order to boost food production and the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state.”
He added: “This is the beginning of good and people oriented projects that would happen under the Rescue Administration of Governor Simon Lalong. He is committed to delivering dividends of democracy to the people of the state.”
According to the governor, when completed, plant would create jobs for teeming youths and also boost food production in the state.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Linda Barau, who also said the promises the Governor Simon Lalong’s administration made before coming into office were being implemented.
She noted that the unique geography of the state makes it suitable for the farming of a wide range of exotic and traditional crops for which Plateau is distinguished.”
Speaking on behalf of the company, the director of Operations of Oil and Chemicals International, Michael Ekoja, said Plateau ranks one of the leading agrarian states in the country with over 60 percent of its population engaged in farming.
He said: “Today as oil prices continue to fall and dwindle, financial allocations from the federation account to the states have not only shrunk, but also unstable. With the grim economic reality of the Nation and state, followed by the renewed commitment of the present administration to economic diversification, there is certainly no better time to tap into the huge agricultural potential of the state for sustainable and equitable development than now.
“It is in view of this that we decided to enter into Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Plateau government to build and operate a blending plant that will service the growing demand for agro input in the state and boost productivity in the agricultural sector.”
“Until the fertiliser issue is solved and put behind us, there can’t be food security, poverty alleviation, industrialisation, equitable prosperity, measurable growth, and sustainable development.
“It is a known fact that in spite of the large number of people employed in the agricultural sector, productivity is low and the farmers are poor. To improve the status of farmers , there has to be increased productivity and for this to be achieved, farmers must have access to critical farm inputs and support services like improved seedlings, fertilizers, crop protection products, and other improved agronomic practices.”
Ekoja said the project would be implemented in partnership with the company’s technical partners; Krilax Ltd, London and Fertilizer Consultants Group, India. “Our technical partner will manage the project for six months, within which they are expected to transfer skill and the management of the facility to the local team”, he added.