Plateau State government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) with Oil and Chemical International, for the set up of a 40-tonnes fertiliser blending plant in Foron in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.
The state Commissioner for Commerce, Ezekiel Daju, who signed the MoU on behalf of the state government, said the occasion was another milestone in the Governor Simon Lalong-led administration.
“As we all know, most citizens of our state are farmers and fertiliser is an essential ingredient in agriculture. Due to the falling 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.”
According to him, the commissioning marked the beginning of good and people-oriented projects under the Rescue Administration of Governor Simon Lalong, adding the state government was committed to delivering dividends of democracy to the people of the state.
He said when completed, it would create job opportunities for our teeming youths and also boost food production in the state.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Linda Barau, who also spoke at the occasion, said the promises the Governor Simon Lalong’s administration made before coming into office were being implemented.
She said the unique geography of the state made the state suitable for the farming of a wide range of exotic and traditional crops for which Plateau was distinguished.
Speaking on behalf of the coy, the director of Operations of Oil and Chemicals International , Michael Ekoja, said Plateau ranked as one of the leading agrarian states in the country with over 60 per cent of its population engaged in farming.
Said he: “Today as oil prices continue to fall and dwindle, and financial allocations from the federation account to the state shrinking and unstable, with the grim economic reality of the nation and state, there is certainly no better time to tap into the huge agricultural potential of the state for sustainable and equitable development than now, especially given the renewed commitment of the present administration to economic diversification
“It is in view of this that we decided to enter into Public Private Partnership with Plateau State 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 “.
He said until fertiliser issue was solved and put behind, there wouldn’t be food security, poverty alleviation , industrialisation, equitable prosperity, measurable growth and sustainable development.
According to him, it is a known fact that in spite of the large number of people employed in the agricultural sector, productively is low and the farmers are poor, adding that to improve the status of farmers, there had to be increase in 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.
“Our company, in collaboration with the administration of Simon Lalong, is embarking on the process for the establishment of the fertiliser plant from the scratch. Our company is a member of the Duncan group of companies and for the past twenty years, we have been active in Plateau , as an organisation.”
“Our avowed commitment is to bring the same values and management principles which have distinguished us in our over 35 years of progressive and consolidated growth to bear on the delivery of this project
“The project will be implemented in partnership with our technical partners, Krilax LTD London and fertilizer consultants group, India. Our technical partner will manage the project for 6 months, within which they are expected to transfer skills and the management of the facility to the local team”, he further said.