The Kebbi State covernment has started cultivating 47,000 hectares of land for use for the targeted 350,000 hectares of land on which cassava would be grown in line with the agreement it signed with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for full production of bio-fuel.
The pilot scheme for the actualisation of the biofuel project was started at Gwazawa, Danko Wasagu area of Zuru Emirate for cassava production while sugarcane is expected to be produced in large quantities in Yauri, Shanga in Yauri Emirate and some communities of Bagudo Local Government Area of the state.
This move, according to the state government, was to ensure that when the project commenced it would be sustained with the needed raw materials that will be produced in the state.
To achieve this, agricultural activities have been intensified by the state government and 200,000 farmers out of the 500,000 that are being targeted are being engaged in the selected areas of the state where cassava and sugarcane are being planted to meet the raw materials requirement of the bio-fuel project.
Some weeks ago, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu embarked on an on-the-spot assessment of the cassava pilot farms at Gwazawa in Danko-Wasagu Local Government Area of the state.
The governor, who trekked several kilometers while inspecting the farms, expressed satisfaction on the level of progress so far achieved with the project.
During his visit to the palace of the Emir of Zuru, he said his administration was committed to the actualisation of the project aimed at the economic development of the state.
He said, “When this project is completed it would serve as fuel for the use of cars and aeroplanes and attract foreign exchange for the country.”
The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Umar Babale Yauri, in an interview with our correspondent on the steps taken by government to actualise its biofuel production project in the state, said “We found out that Kebbi State has comparative advantage in the production of bio-fuel.
“We have abundant resources for its production in Yauri, Shanga and Bagudo. It will help our people to boost the production of sugarcane and cassava and it will reduce unemployment in the state.
“We found out that even if you have a PhD you can be a farmer. With this we will engage our graduates in farming and other productive areas in the state. We have more than 500,000 unemployed graduates, NCE, degree and even PhD holders. Our target is to engage 200,000 of them in the first leg of the programme,” the SSG stated.
Commending the initiative of the state government, the Emir of Zuru, Alhaji Muhammadu Sani Sami, expressed his happiness and gratefulness to the state government for bringing the bio-fuel project to his emirate and the road construction leading to the farm centres in the area.
The chief of Wasagu kingdom, Alhaji Mukhtar Musa Wasagu, said the project would improve the economic well-being of his people who are predominantly farmers.
The project coordinator, Professor Abubakar Mohammed Ka’oje, said it would boost cassava and sugarcane production in the state.
Meanwhile, Governor Bagudu last week said the state government is in talks with a foreign company that has proposed to establish a $30m sugar factory in Augie Local Government Area. This, he said, would boost sugarcane production and bring more earnings for farmers in the state.