Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the foundation laying ceremony of the potato processing plant of Vicampro Farms Company Limited; Manchok, Kaura local government area, Friday, 23rd September 2016
I am greatly delighted to witness the foundation laying ceremony of this promising project; the Potato processing Plant of Vicampro Farms Limited here in Manchok, Kaura Local Government Area. This is an important project for Kaduna State because it has the potential to generate thousands of jobs for our teeming youths. Additionally, this project will stimulate a chain of economic activities that will impact positively on the economic development of the state and the nation. Vicampro is not only going to process potato that will serve local demand; it is also primed for export of its products, thereby earning foreign exchange for the country.
Kaduna State is blessed with abundant natural resources. We have arable land, and a tradition of farming. Agriculture is a sphere of comparative advantage for us; and we are promoting agriculture in our drive to diversify the economy of the state. In our determination to generate jobs and reduce our reliance on the Federal Government for revenues, we have initiated investor-friendly policies in Kaduna State. We want businesses to feel safe bringing their investments to Kaduna state. That is why we organised the Kaduna Economic Summit (KADInvest) between 6th and 7th April, 2016, to showcase the numerous opportunities and potentials of the state and how ready Kaduna is for investment.
We have worked with the State House of Assembly to pass a law that established the Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA) as an agency that coordinates activities towards attracting and promoting investment in the state. Today Kaduna is becoming a much easier place to do business and our efforts have already started yielding positive results. We have Olam of Singapore investing $150 Million to build the largest integrated Poultry and Feed Mill in Nigeria. Similarly, Dangote Group is investing in a 7000-hectare tomato farm and a processing plant in Kaduna state.
Through this Public-Private-Partnership, thousands of direct and indirect jobs will be created to reduce the high rate of unemployment and roll back poverty. Vicampro’s USD 120m investments will also boost the revenue base of the state through taxes.
We need investments across our state, to create wealth and jobs and conclusively defeat the poverty that has blighted too many lives and inclined many to succumb to machinations of division, hate and mischief. We all know that investments will not come in an atmosphere of insecurity. No investor will want to put his money in an insecure environment. That is why I am using this opportunity to call on the good people of Kaura LGA and the entire host communities to support Vicampro Farms Limited to realise this project. This project will provide the opportunity for farmers in these communities and the entire state to be trained in modern potato farming. Vicampro will help to raise standards of farming and harvesting, and our farmers will be the better for it.
This project is not only going to supply the local demand; it is expected that 60 per cent of the French fries to be processed here will be for markets outside this country. This is a project that deserves the support of everybody in Kaduna State and I am optimistic that we shall succeed by the grace of God, with a commitment to peace and mindset of attainment.
I must at this juncture thank the Managing Director of Vicampro Farms Limited, Michael Agbogo, for his vision in identifying Kaduna as the best place to cite this laudable project. I assure you that the Kaduna state government will give you the necessary support to ensure the success of this project.
I also thank all other stakeholders and government officials whose contributions have brought us here today. Together we shall make Kaduna great again. This project would have been impossible without the efforts of our commissioners for Commerce and Agriculture, the KADIPA team and the support of AFRACA and NIRSAL.
We acknowledge the role of the CBN Governor who is a champion of agriculture and we pay tribute to the vision of the Minister of Agriculture who is leading the national effort to wean us off food import dependency. Our thanks also go to the Minister of Trade and Investment for his commitment to the diversification of our economy.
It is therefore my singular honour to perform this foundation laying ceremony, to the glory of God Almighty, and the progress of Kaduna state.