Edo govt fast-tracks implementation of EGRP, attracts consumer foods processing, commodity export firms

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In a bid to diversify the state’s economy for increased productivity in line with the Federal Government’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP), the Edo State Government has attracted investment in consumer foods processing that will benefit from a multilocation cassava production initiative in the three senatorial districts of the state.

The investment will get support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Anchor Borrowers Programme and Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).

It is being driven by a tripartite partnership among the Edo State government, Elephant Group, and Heritage Agro Allied Foods (H2AFoods).

The firm will be involved in the processing of High-Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF). The end product will be packaged consumer foods such as Pringles and Lays Stax potato crisps brands.

The move is part of the economic expansion programmes by the state government and ties with its economic development policy, with a focus on agriculture, food processing, and export.

According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Programme, Joe Okogie, “Mechanised Cassava farming operations will begin immediately across the three Senatorial Districts of Edo State. Auchi farmers will cultivate 238 Hectares (Ha), Ubiaja at 223 Ha and Ugboko at 206 Ha for a total of 667 Ha. About 445 cooperative farmers will be engaged. Offtake arrangements by Elephant Group and Von Foods have been completed with H2AFoods driving the export market of the HQCF to the United States for making pet foods and snacks.”

Executive Director, Elephant Group, Akin Ogunbiyi, said the company was determined to transform cassava flour into industrial food ingredient and packaged convenience food in Nigeria and Africa at large.

He said the company has processing centres across the state and would buy directly from the cassava farmers, adding, “We want to add value to what the farmers are producing and are guaranteeing the offtake for the products. We have our processors in Edo North, Central, and South. Each is located close to the farmers.