As the Taraba Agro Green House Project begins harvest, experts in Agro business have continued to highlight the importance of the project to the State economy and what Nigeria stand to gain from the project.
Chief James Uchenna, Site Manager ONIDA Agro company- the company handling the construction of the project told Elder Dennis Nev, Special Adviser to the Governor on New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) when he led other staff of the agency on a familiarisation tour of the facility that, when completed, the project is capable of generating millions of dollars for the State.
“Take for instance, cucumber takes 45 days from the day of planting in the nursery to the harvesting, and we have 18 Green Houses with dimension of 98×48; meaning two of them make one hectare.
“So if you are selling one cucumber for N100, multiply it by the number of stems in each of the green houses, that’s lot of money and we are going to have green pepper, punk leaves, tomatoes and other vegetables all grown here and in very 45 days, we are harvesting and selling, that’s a whole lot of money.
“This is going to be an all year round farming which will check importation of tomatoes and other vegetables. At the moment, Nigeria import even tomatoes from South Africa and China to meet local demand and this project will fill that gap.
“Already we have a cold room here and soon our Cooling Vans will arrive which will be used to distribute fresh vegetables across the Country,” he explained.
The site manager who said the project was first of its kind in Nigeria, said so far about 200 indigenes of the State are working and earning a living from the project, noting that apart from selling fresh vegetables, the project will serve as a factory where improved seedlings will be processed and sold to farmers.
Dr. Okoro, a lead consultant with NEPAD Nigeria in his projection recently during a NEPAD workshop in Abuja, noted that Taraba Agro Green House Project is capable of generating $50 million dollars annually and called on other States in the Country to emulate Taraba by constructing similar economic viable projects in their States to create jobs and reduce poverty.
“Apart from the huge economic importance of the Taraba Green House Project, it will also serve as a training centre for students studying Agriculture related courses in higher institutions across the Country.
“Other States in Nigeria should take advantage of this modern technology to improve their revenue. Look at Israel, though located in the desert, they have taken advantage of this technology and they are earning foreign exchange from it,” he said.
Hajiya Aishatu Adamu, a market woman who sells vegetables at the Jalingo main market, said instead of relying on supplies from other States especially during the dry season, they will be getting fresh vegetables from the Green House upon completion of the project, adding “a lot of people neglected this business, but there is money in selling vegetables because it is what people buy everyday,” she said.
Aishatu commended Governor Ishaku for initiating the project, but called on him to privatise the project upon to make it more viable. “The moment he allows politicians to manage the business, they will kill it in no time.
“If he wants to see return on his investment, he must give it out to other people to manage, not civil servants or politicians, because they will milk everything there,” she warned.