Benue Agric. Project : 2 LGAs to provide 40,000 hectares of land
Agatu and Gwer West local government areas of Benue on Thursday agreed to provide 40,000 hectares of land for the Humanitarian Environmental Project Company (HEPC) project.
The move followed the signing of a 400-million-pound Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for mechanised agriculture between the Benue Government and HEPC in November 2016.
Traditional rulers from the local government areas, therefore, took the decision during their meeting with officials of Bureau for Lands and Survey, chaired by its Special Adviser, Prof. Jonathan Uever.
During the meeting, the HEPC, represented by Prof. Joseph Alakali, told the traditional rulers that the company intended to introduce international advanced system of agriculture value chain by customising it to suit the Benue system.
Alakali explained that the project included open field and green house, livestock value chain, water treatment plant and renewable energy generation, social housing, kindergarten, primary school and staff healthcare clinic.
He said “we intend to create over 5,000 jobs, build 1,000 housing units for workers, modern abattoir, build schools, hospitals and provide other infrastructure for modern day city in the area for effective operation.
“During the project execution, an entire advanced rice farming and processing unit would be put in place, advanced livestock breeding, modern cold stores, meat processing, packaging and distribution, roads and sewage, as well as streets would be constructed.
“The owners of the land would be properly integrated into the project, and at the end of the agreement, we would give the project back to the people through the government.
“Water treatment plant, power generation, irrigation system and manure/fertilizer plant would also be built.”
Speaking during the meeting on behalf of traditional rulers, HRH Chief Daniel Abomtse, said that citing the project in the area was the simplest way of wading off attacks by herders.
Abomtse said it was clear that the state government had learnt a lot from the policies and programmes of Gov. Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, who had already provided land for rice farming to foreign investors.
The monarch said “we command Gov. Samuel Ortom administration for the human face. This project is the simplest way of wading off incessant attacks on farmers in local governments.
“The government would have to schedule another meeting to visit our respective local government areas and sensitise our people on the project.”
Earlier in his opening speech, Uever said the project was to bring development to the state, adding that government was determined to create wealth and bring development closer to the people.
The proposed site of the project was the same area where herdsmen and farmers crisis had been going on for years.