A team of agri-business investors from South Africa with over 40 years experience are in Plateau State to explore opportunities for investing in farming, processing and export of exotic crops and perishables which are synonymous with the State.
The team was led to the Government House Little Rayfield Jos by the Managing Director of the Plateau Investment and Proper Property Development Company (PIPC) Mr. Chrysogonus Yilzak.
Mr. Yilzak explained that the PIPC had been in talks with the investors who would have been in the State long ago, but for COVID-19 restrictions.
He said the investors were in the State under Plateau Fresh Project which is targered at harnessing the abundant and untapped potentials of the State in production, marketing, processing and export of exotic crops and perishables.
He said so far, the survey conducted shows that 18 potential crops are ready for investment initiatives across the State.
Technical partner to the project Mr. Ian White said Plateau State is very ideal for growing many varieties of crops and vegetables that are in high demand in Nigeria and around the world.
He said they have gone round to identify some areas and crops that are produced by over 4,000 farmers who are shortchanged by middle men who do nothing except moving the products to the cities.
According to him, their company plans to conceive, design, build and operate a tested agri- business model that will train farmers using technology and modern farm inputs to guarantee high yield.
In addition, he explained that they will establish value addition mechanisms to ensure that products are processed and packaged before being taken out for export and domestic consumption.
Ian regretted that Plateau with high capacity for tomato production is not able to meet domestic demands as Nigeria has to spend huge foreign exchange in importing tomato paste.
This he said will be addressed with the efforts of his firm which intends to start small, but expand gradually through training and building the requisite management teams and workforce.
He commended Governor Lalong for doing his best to restore peace to the State and also creating an enabling environment for investors.
Responding, Governor Lalong thanked the team for visiting Plateau State and expressing interest to invest in agriculture.
He said the Government will continue to do its best in providing an enabling environment for investors particularly in agriculture which is a main source of employment and economic prosperity of the citizens.
The Governor told the team that already, the Yakubu Gowon Airport has been designated as Special International Airport for agricultural products while the Inland Container Depot has also been acquired and will soon be put to use.
He promised to continue to work towards enhancing the security of lives and properties of the citizens and investors.