BY HASSAN MIJINYAWA.
The Taraba Oil Mills Limited is another success story of the administration of Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State. After lying waste for a very long time, the company is now operational with new milling and processing machines.
The mill’s main plantation and factory, located in Kurmi local government area, has now become the hub of palm oil production in the state. The hitherto moribund factory has been rebuilt and refurbished with bigger workshops for it to handle all the palm fruits that the other government plantations and out-growers can deliver to it for production.
According to the managing director/CEO of Taraba Investment and Properties Limited, Mr. Iliya Ezekiel, the transformed oil mill will be producing about 100 million litres of palm oil a weektranslating into 520 million litres per annum when in full swing.
Government’s plan for Kurmi is to produce enough palm oil for local and international consumption. One of the targets of the state government is to make Taraba oil a household name in Nigeria because of its distinct quality.
About 50 years ago, Malaysia came to Nigeria to take palm tree seedlings. Today, they are the undisputed leader in palm oil production globally while Nigeria’s production capacity continues to decline. Governor Darius Ishaku wants to change that, saying he intends to cover Kurmi, other plantations and parts of Taraba with palm trees so that with time Nigeria can take its rightful place as far as palm oil production is concerned.
The Taraba State government has four otherplantations in Serti, Yaboro, Bisaula and Dakka. They will all serve the Kurmi Oil Mill. For now, about 4,000 palm trees grow in the Baisa plantation. Across the state though, over one million palm trees are in full blossom. In addition, nurseries have been established to serve as feeder for farmers especially the out- growers in Kurmi and other areas. Taraba Oil Mills Limited will begin collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin City, Edo State in the production of enhanced palm seedlings to give farmers.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently advised the state government to provide more land for the oil company in order to access N1billion credit facility to expand production. This of course, is in line with the drive of the state government to buy most advanced milling machinesfrom Europe to boost production capacity.
The mill will, no doubt, produce enough palm oil to meet local consumption. With one million palm trees from government plantations and out-growers supplying the fruits needed, meeting installed capacity will be easy. Government is encouraging people to plant palm trees in their homes and vacant land as a means of getting a steady supply of palm fruits. The mill will also provide raw materials for other secondary products like palm cake, baskets, brooms and local soap made from palm tree.
Government’s plan to localise oil production at Kurmi is strategic. Aside the convenient weather, the land there is fertile and grows other cash crops like cocoa, coffee, wheat and tea. Government has over 10,000 hectares of land in Kurmi and is planning to do low land teaand coffee production in the near future. It is also planning to establish a cocoa nursery and will start a pilot scheme for wheat production. But for now palm oil is the focus.
Certainly, there is an upsurge in economic activities in Kurmi local government area because of the revival of the Taraba Oil Mills Ltd. Once the mill comes into full production, employment opportunities will increase especially for women who will get about 60 per cent of the jobs available at the mill. The mill in Kurmi is a good example of what can be achieved if political will meets commitment to service, especially with the determination of the current general manager, Mr. Steven Johnson.
– Mijinyawa is the Chief Press Secretary to Taraba State Governor
The Executive Governor, Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku has flagged off the distribution of seeds by the National Food Security Council Emergency Agricultural Intervention in the state.
The Governor in his remarks said this will go a long way in easing the stress on the victims affected by the crisis.
He said the turn out is impressive and stressed that it is because of the biometric capture of the over 2000 affected people. He said they will be giving the same bags of fertilizers and agro chemicals.
Governor Ishaku said the push for agriculture in his administration has produced a bumper harvest and will strive to consolidate on it and pointed out that he is aware that the driving force of any society is the youths and promised to use his second tenure to empower the youths.
The Governor warned the beneficiaries not to involve themselves in collecting these products and selling them out because he won’t spare anyone found in the act.
He further instructed the security agencies to arrest and prosecute anyone found guilty of the act.
Gov. Ishaku thanked the Federal Government for this gesture and assures them of his esteem regards.
Speaking, the Director General NEMA Maj. JO Aina said this distribution is to assist the communities affected by the crisis with the aim at re-stabilising the affected areas rather than continually giving them food.
He thanked the Governor and the state government for their continued support and assistance since they arrived the state.
The event which took place at the premises of the Taraba State Transportation Company (TSTC) Jalingo had the company of the Deputy Governor, Engr. Haruna Manu; the SSG Hon. Anthony Jellason; the Chief of Staff Rt. Hon. Istifanus Gbana and other top government functionaries.
Governor Darius Ishaku has flagged-off the European Union Support for Nutrition and Resilience Project in Taraba.
Gov. Ishaku delivering his speech at the event.
While welcoming the EU ambassador, Mr. Ketil Karlsen and his team to the State, the Governor disclosed that the impact of the European Union’s support to Taraba is a sign that the State is making progress in the agricultural sector and added that it would have a direct bearing on the farmers and their families.
Governor Ishaku revealed that the Government would not rest on its oars in ensuring the goals of the European Union’s investment is strictly adhered to for most profit.
“This Prosell Project is a welcomed development for us in Taraba and I urge our farmers to seize this opportunity to increase their productivity base through the high yielding seedling that will be distributed to the designated areas earmarked for the take off as the much anticipated opportunity to sell your products through a coordinated channel is ready and available”.
He maintained that the gesture of the EU will further enhance cooperation between the State and the agency in economic growth, food security and environmental development.
The Head of Health Nutrition and Resilience section, Mrs. Montserrat Pantaleoni Giralt who is represnting the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, keenly observing the made-in Taraba palm oil. One of the revived moribund companies by Gov. Ishaku’s administration.
The European Union ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ketil Karl
sen represented by the Head of Health Nutrition and Resilience section, Mrs. Montserrat Pantaleoni Giralt noted that the Union was attracted to Taraba having monitored the massive investment of the Government in the agricultural sector.
This she said was followed by deploying an assessment team to the State for proper evaluation of areas earmarked for the pilot scheme.
“The European Union through the OXFAM agency has been able to cover a lot of ground in ensuring food security and profit to farmers from large scale sales. The 10 million Euros set aside for the first phase of the project is available and the other 10 million will come in the long run”.
The project, according to the Union’s country program director Mr. Temitayo Omole, is targeting about fifty percent of women and thirty percent of the youths as they make up the most important group who will be engaged in the pilot scheme.
He revealed that the project would also train about sixty thousand, five hundred extension workers for easy access to the farmers.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. David Ishaya who is the convener of the project earlier expressed huge optimism in the project and affirmed that the Government would make sure the farmers get the best possible result from the support of the European Union to boost agricultural growth and increase their output from the quality seeds they would be receiving.
Dr. Ishaya commended the Governor for the investment the agricultural sector has enjoyed so far.
Taraba State Government said it is set to assist more local rice farmers to produce enough rice to feed the nation and check huge import bills on rice into the country.
His Excellency, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku.
Governor Darius Ishaku who disclosed this on Sunday at the thanksgiving church service to mark the 80th birthday celebration of the Chief of Donga, Dr. Stephen Bayonga said the State Government has so far assisted 17,000 rice farmers in the past two years.
“We held a meeting with the Federal Government over the high import bills on rice and we all agreed to work hard to stop the importation of rice into the country.
“Taraba alone can feed the nation with rice and cut the N800bn being spent yearly on rice import. So, I want to call on the people of the State to return to farming.
“On our part, we are poised to assist more rice farmers to produce enough rice to feed the nation, boost economy and check poverty,” he said.
The governor congratulated the Gara of Donga for clocking 80 years and prayed God to grant him good health and wisdom to rule.
In his remarks, the celebrant, The Gara of Donga, Dr. Stephen Bayonga thanked God for sparing his life to see his 80th birthday and appreciated the people who turned out to celebrate with him.
Bayonga called on the Governor to consider the construction of the Donga – Mararaba road to ease movement of people and for economic growth of the area.
Resident Pastor of CRC-N Donga, Rev. Enoch Aboki in his sermon enjoined the people to always appreciate God and never forget the good things God has done in their lives.
Rev. Aboki called on the Governor to deal with the security situation in the area especially in kidnapping and armed robbery.
Taraba government to distribute 130 Tractors to Farmers in the state
The Taraba State Government is set to distribute 130 tractors to farmers in pursuance of agricultural mechanization and to boost food production.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. David Ishaya disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday in Jalingo.
Dr. Ishaya who said one of the major problems facing farmers in the State was mechanization, noted that the Government was poised to tackle the challenge to enable Taraba farmers produce enough food for the country.
“Apart from the 30 tractors the Governor inaugurated yesterday, we have procured 100 units of mini tractors for smallholder farmers and we will soon distribute them to farmers.
“The tractors are to be given to cooperative societies across the 16 Local Government Areas of the State. Presently, we are working on modalities for the distribution.
“We have decided to deal directly with farmers instead of using the Tractor Hiring Agency which has failed to meet the needs of the people.
“Government is going to subsidize the tractors for farmers who are going to own them and the money accrued from the tractors will be used to procure more of the tractors and for routine maintenance,” he said.
The Commissioner who said 90 percent of the people of the State are farmers noted that the Government was determined to support farmers to produce food enough to check food scarcity.
Ishaya also noted that apart from supporting farmers to produce stable crops, the State Government was encouraging and supporting farmers to produce cash crops to boost the State economy.