Industrialisation remains the basic foundation for economic development and poverty eradication of any country.
The Kebbi State government has taken this seriously and embarked on attracting foreign direct investments into the state through a focused investment drive which has led to the establishment of industries in the state.
The Executive Governor of Kebbi State, Alh. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has restated his commitment to creating more jobs and wealth through partnership, investment, and industrialisation in the state.
In line with this obligation, his government, along with the CBN, has successfully partnered with GBFoods to establish a N20 billion Tomato Processing Factory in the state.
The factory is the only fully backward integrated plant in ECOWAS – and has the largest single tomato farm in Nigeria.
It is estimated to be the largest fresh tomato processing factory in Sub-Saharan Africa, when all phases of the project are finished, and will no doubt, boost the state’s economy and create more jobs for different segments of the society.
Considering the socio-economic importance of agriculture to food production and income generation for the people of the state, the governor initiated an agricultural revitalisation, transformation and diversification drive through a partnership with the Bank of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
And the state has also given backing to GBFoods to cultivate 1000-hectare farmland, to be expanded over time, to produce fresh tomatoes as raw materials.
This farm and factory project is designed to be the largest of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Recall that President Buhari personally launched the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme aimed at production of food, job creation, income generation, and self-sufficiency in food production.
It is no doubt that Kebbi State has recorded achievements in agriculture through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor-Borrowers programme geared towards improving agricultural production.
The Kebbi State government’s frantic support of agriculture has boosted its farming business and boosted the economic viability of the state.
The partnership in this regard has created over 1,000 jobs including 500 farming jobs, 150 factory jobs, and 150 construction jobs.
The company’s team of extension workers, consultants, and agronomists are ensuring that the Nigerian farmers benefit from the technology transfer of its best practices from Spain and Italy. Kebbi State have worked with smallholder out-growers to boost their incomes by providing seedlings, fertilizers, training and free plastic crates.
This support has motivated the farmers to enhance their farming business which has increased their revenue base.
Also, a burgeoning attraction of more people to the farming business has undoubtedly created huge job opportunities for the unemployed in the state.
The governor has affirmed his resolve to utilise the partnership to enhance the economic fortunes of farmers and youths as a panacea to industrial progress.
He reiterated that his government has opened up the state for investment which is in line with his vision and aspiration towards diversification of the state’s economy through agriculture.
Members of the Ngaski Local Government community in Yauri Emirate, particularly the Emir of Yauri, Dr. Muhammad Zayyanu Abdullahi, who was instrumental in attractiving GBFoods, hailed the establishment of the factory in their community which has also provided social amenities, especially clean drinking water to all the surrounding villages to the project site, some for the first time.
He viewed government’s decision to site the factory in Gafara in Ngaski Local Government Area as commendable as this further underscores the government’s initiative aimed at industrialising its rural areas for enhanced employment opportunities and income generation.
Kebbi State government’s policies and programmes in the agricultural sector have triggered the establishment of private investments across the state.
The government’s sustained efforts in agricultural revitalisation and development has continued to attract investors from far and near.
Ibrahim Tanko, a public policy analyst, wrote from Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State.