Delta Amongst States With Most Arable Land In Nigeria – Oborevwori

Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, Thursday, said the state was among states in the country with most arable lands for sustainable agriculture and food security in the country.

Governor Oborevwori stated this when he received on courtesy call, officials of the African Development Bank, AfDB and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture led by the Chief Agro-Industral Economist, Dr Chuma Ezedinma at Government House, Asaba.

He said the state was blessed with arable lands for the cultivation of crops ranging from cassava, maize, yam, rice, assorted vegetables and even rubber; which could be grown in commercial quantities.

He expressed the state’s readiness to partner with the AfDB and other stakeholders for the establishment of the Special Agro-processing zone in the state.

He said: “I welcome your team to Delta state on this important field mission on the assessment of the state’s readiness to situate a Special Agro-Processing Zone.

“I understand that this will determine the African Development Bank’s decision to site this project in Delta State. I know after your assessment, you will see that we deserve it. It is important to state that we are one of the states that have the largest arable lands in Nigeria.

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“We cultivate crops ranging from cassava, maize, yam, rice, assorted vegetables and even rubber; which can be grown in commercial quantities. Also, because of our closeness to coastal line, the Atlantic ocean we are also into aquaculture.

“Finally, the establishment of this special agro-processing zone is something that we desire in this state. We appreciate your coming, we are hospitable and we are ready to partner with you.”

Earlier, Dr Ezedinma said the visit was a preparatory mission for the establishment of the second phase of the Special Agro-industrial processing zones programme in Nigeria.

“The African Development Bank is currently conducting what we know as a preparation mission for the establishment of the special Agricultural Processing Programme, the second phase in Nigeria.

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“Nigeria has already obtained a loan of about 520 million US Dollars for the first phase of the programme and that is why we have a team here from the National Office of the programme.

“The preparation of the second phase of the programme is basically to assess the readiness of the states for the second phase of the programme. We do have interest from about 27 states of the country and we are trying to see which states are ready in terms of specific criteria we have put in place.

“Some of those criteria include the readiness of the states to involve the private sector partners to be able to support the development of the special agriculture development jobs.

“Two specific documents are very important to us at this stage of our evaluation. One is a good visibility study of the Agro-Industral zone that we are looking at. The second is the environmental social impact assessment studies.

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“These two documents are fundamental for the bank to be able to assess the readiness of the state with respect to establishing the Special Agriculture Processing Jobs.

“That’s the purpose of our mission and we are here in Delta State to do exactly what we have done in about 13 states now.”

By Okere Ugochinyerennaya, Asaba