An agriculture development firm, Agro Allied Resources and Processing Nigeria Limited, has commenced the development of a 14,000 hectare oil palm plantation in Odighi Community, in Ovia North East Local Government Area (LGA) of Edo State.
The firm said it is working on two stages of nursery for the development and has so far fully planted about 500 hectares with work speeding up on the other stage.
The development of the plantation contributes to the overall strategy to regenerate deforested land across the state and repurpose them for economic activities. The state government, leveraging a robust relationship with private interests, has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with not less than eight firms for the cultivation of about 110,000 hectares of land, making the state a hotbed for plantation farming in Nigeria.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Richard Edibiri, said the state government is seeking to generate billions of naira from the expansion of the agricultural sector in the state, noting that the impact of the investment is multi-fold.
He said, “Aside the return on investment, we will also have the return on employment. This investment is sure to increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state. All this is happening as a result of the conducive environment guaranteed by the state government led by Governor Godwin Obaseki.”
Senior Manager, ARPNL, identified as Mr. L. Jonathan, said the plantation is part of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s aggressive push to reset the economic base of the state and place agriculture as its mainstay in the post-coronavirus (COVID-19) era.
He said ARPNL has a one million litre tank for storage of water, which is used for block irrigation system by injection and allows water to be retained in poly bags.
A contractor on the plantation, Osayamen Orhionkpaiyo, expressed appreciation to the governor for attracting the investors to Odighi Community, noting that a lot of youths in the community are gainfully employed in the facility.
According to him, “A lot of youths are working here. We thank God for Governor Obaseki and what he is doing in Edo State.”