BENIN CITY – In a renewed drive to diversify the economic base of the state for expansion, the Edo State Government has signed a tripartite agreement with the Elephant Group and Heritage Agro Allied Foods (H2AFoods), of United States of America (USA), to strengthen the cassava value chain, which would benefit not less than 445 farmers across the state.
At the signing of the tripartite agreement, in Government House on Tuesday, Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Joe Okojie, said the cassava project would span across the three senatorial districts of the state while financing of the project has been secured and disbursed to the farmers.
According to him, “238 hectares of land will be utilised in Edo North; 223 ha in Edo Central and 206 ha in Edo South. The farmers have been aggregated across the three districts and each farmer will get one and a half hectares of farmland.”
He said the state government would assist the farmers in land clearing, secure inputs while planting would commence at the end of April.
“We are bringing all the players across the value chain together and we have secured the loan for each farmer under the Anchor Borrowers Programme. The state government will be helping to de-risk land clearing and provide off-takers for the cassava farmers.”
Executive Director, Elephant Group, Akin Ogunbiyi, said the company is determined to transform cassava flour into industrial food ingredient and packaged convenience food in Nigeria and Africa at large.
He explained that the company has processing centres across the state and would buy directly from the cassava farmers.
“We want to add value to what the farmers are producing and are guaranteeing the off-take for the products. We have our processors in Edo North, Central, and South senatorial districts. Each is located close to the farmers,” Ogunbiyi added.