The Edo Government is to partner with the private sector to establish an agro processing centre at the agricultural cluster in Ehor, Uhunmwode Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Skills Development and Job Creation, Mrs Ukibebo Dare, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Benin on Tuesday.
Dare said the processing centre would help reduce post-harvest loss of agricultural produce, increase farmers’ income as well as create employment for rural dwellers.
“We are starting with the establishment of cassava, oil palm and pineapple processing centre.
“The farmers in the agricultural cluster in Ehor grow a lot of cassava and pineapple, so the farmers will provide the raw materials for the processing centre.
She said five processors including X’L Biz World International would be investing in oil palm processing while Siyon-Jay would be investing in cassava for garri processing.
“We are having a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to ensure sustainability of the processing centre.
“The centre will be operated by the private processors while the state government will ensure the farmers are patronised,’’ she said.
Dare said farmers in the agricultural cluster were already reaping the benefits of the arrangement as aggregators bought their produce on a regular basis.
“The aim is to have no fewer than 3,000 farmers in Edo to benefit from the agricultural cluster initiative located in Egor.
“Aggregators come to buy pineapples and plantains from the cluster and sell in malls in Lagos. We are excited about this and the farmers are happy with the cluster arrangement,” said.
She added that the state government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Novost Agric, to supply inputs to farmers in the cluster.