The Katsina State Government and the Dangote Group have signed an investment deal worth N500 million to boost local production of tomatoes in Nigeria.
At the signing and handing over ceremony of the project held recently, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, signed on behalf of the state government, while the Group President/CE, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, signed on behalf of the Group.
The deal, which would see an initial investment of half a billion Naira by Dangote Group, is under a 10-year lease agreement and it is expected to revive and upgrade the moribund Songhai project in Dutsinma town of Katsina state.
The initiative would ensure the installation of a state-of-the-art tomato research and development (R&D) facility equipped with drip irrigation and fertigation systems and ultimately, the cultivation of 10,000 hectares of farmland and establishment of tomato processing plant within the Zobe dam region.
In his reaction, Masari described the development as a significant milestone and a turning point in the economic transformation of Katsina State and its people.
He further described the project as one that will not only serve Katsina State but West Africa region and beyond.
The Governor promised to provide necessary support to ensure the success of the project which he said will further open up local economy in the state.
On his part, Dangote expressed his commitment towards partnering Katsina State Government in reviving the Songhai project, putting its arable land to good use while creating employment for farmers in the region.
“We will not only cultivate and process tomatoes, we will also help Katsina effectively utilize its vast arable land.
“With your support in providing an enabling environment, we will move to the site quickly to begin cultivation and more importantly integrate farmers in our out-grower scheme to make this project a reality,” he said.
Also speaking, the Project lead, Robert Coleman, said the research and development facility would provide a training hub for farmers, agronomist, and students within the region, generating both skilled and unskilled employment opportunities for up to 1,000 people.
By Oluwasegun Olakoyenikan….
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