By Ifeanyi Olannye
Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has kicked off a 3,000-hectare oil palm plantation owned by Norsworthy Farms and Allied Industries, as a major investment that would boost the state’s economy.
At the ground-breaking for the plantation and processing plant at Akwukwu-Igbo, Oshimili North Local Government Area, Okowa said the project would change the face of oil palm industry in the state when operational.
Norsworthy Farms and Allied Industries is also setting up a palm oil refinery, palm kernel crushing plant and 10-tonne per hour palm oil mill.
He observed that with the oil palm investment, his administration’s drive for investors to come to the state was yielding results.
“I see this exercise as a good example of private sector participation in the economy.
“It is really ennobling when private sector organisations partner with government in the pursuit of sustainable development.
“There are many avenues through which the private sector and non-governmental organisations can partner to bring sustainable development to the doorsteps of the people.
“I am convinced that this is a major step forward in the development of viable business in the agriculture sector, which is a part of the key element of private sector participation in the development of our dear state.”
The governor promised the people of Akwukwu-Igbo that the road from the community to Ugbolu would be captured in the 2019 budget.
He appealed to the traditional rulers across the state to make land available to investors.
The Managing Director, Norsworthy Farms and Allied Industries Limited, Mr Gabriel Ugbechie, said that over N6 billion had been budgeted for the project.
Earlier, the Council Chairman, Mr Louis Ndukwe, in his address, noted that oil palm played important roles in the development of Nigeria’s economy in the past.
He added that it could do more to turn the economies of both the state and country around.
He said the sector’s value chain would bring about speedy development of the rural community and boost jobs and wealth creation for the people.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor later unveiled the ground breaking plaque.
He also planted a palm seedling and took a tour of the site in company of some government functionaries, traditional rulers, industrialists and farmers, among others. (NAN)