The Rivers State Government has concluded plans to establish a 10,000_hectare oil palm estate in Bori in Khana local government area of the state, Gov. Chibuike Amaechi said on Monday.
Amaechi, who disclosed thisÂ in Port Harcourt after a meeting with some stakeholders, said the project was expected to take off in July 2010.
He said that the government had reached an agreement with three companies in the U.K., Belgium and the Netherlands on the project.
â€œWe have reached an agreement with three companies actually, one in Belgium, one in the United Kingdom.Â We are to establish a 10,000_hectare of oil palm estate with a six_tonne capacity mill that will be split into five.
â€˜â€™We have agreed to 60_40. They will bring 40 per cent and we will bring 60 per cent equity share, â€˜â€™ he said.
He said 60 per cent of the funding would be used to plant the oil palm seedlings and build housing estates for the workers.â€˜â€™The companies would come with the refineries and a mill.
They are milling and refining companies.â€œ The company in Belgium will build mill facilities while the one in the Netherlands will build refining facilities; so they will come with that and that will be their 40 per cent, â€˜â€™ he said.
Amaechi said the company in the U.K. and an affiliate company from Costa Rica would plant a special specie of oil palms in the estate.
He said that 2,000 Rivers people would be employed by the oil palm estate when fully operational.
â€œIt is estimated that 2,000 of them will work there. If it is 10,000 hectares, the people to harvest the farm alone will be huge.
â€œThen you have those who will work in the mill, refinery and those who will be in the offices, â€˜â€™ he said
Agriculture is my priorityÂ Council Chairman
The newly sworn in Bwari Area Council Chairman, Mr. Peter Yohanna, has assured the people of the area l that his administration will give agriculture priority.
Yohanna, who stated this in an interviewÂ at Ushafa in Bwari on Monday, said that agriculture would receive more funding and prominence.
â€œAs a farmer myself, provision of fertilizer, herbicides and other necessary inputs will be given seriously consideration for us to maintain our name as the Food Basket of the FCTâ€ he said.
According to him,Â the council will be fully involved in mechanized farming and set the pace for others to emulate.
â€œWe want Bwari to be a training center for mechanized farming where people from other places will come and be trained in the art of mechanized farming.
â€œWe also want to empower our Agricultural Extension Officers to effectively discharge their duties to improve our farming output, â€˜â€™ the chairman said.
He called on the residents to assist the council, the FCT and the nation in general by living in peace with one another to enable the council to develop and progress.
â€œWithout peace there will be no meaningful infrastructural and economic development and we intend to maintain the status quo as the council with the least crime in the FCT,â€ he added.
On electricity, Yohanna said his administration would ensure that the two wards which currently do not have light __ Igu and Shere __ were connected.â€œWe will, by grace of God consolidate the electricity supply by providing for those areas which lack power,â€ he said.