Nigerian farmers under the aegis of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) have expressed optimism that the Tingo Food Processing facilities under construction in Onicha-Ugbo area of Delta State will create a viable value chain when completed.
Dr. Yinusa Halidu, National Secretary, of AFAN who stated this last week during a media tour of the facilities said he was excited about the Tingo Foods Processing Facility because it portends a bright future for Nigerian farmers.
This was against the backdrop of earlier reports that the facility was none existent.
But Halidu, during the tour made up of local and international journalists, said “Our members who are farmers will reap the benefits. I am really amazed at the pace of work that has gone on here.
“The last time we were here was at the groundbreaking and the whole place looked like a jungle, now you can see progress. I knew there were hitches between the communities, I never knew the matter had been resolved and work has gone so fast to my greatest surprise.
“Presently, the relationship between Tingo and AFAN has gone far to the extent that Tingo has started funding our production line, so whatever we produce, we will push them to this processing plant instead of sending it abroad to be processed and brought back to Nigeria.
“This project will have very big impact and we are eagerly awaiting its completion because we know the advantage it will have on our businesses, and the fact that our products will have added value is good news for us”
Also speaking on the project, Dr. Chris Clerverly, President of Tingo Inc and Tingo Foods said the project is on course and its construction will be completed in the next 24 months, even as he stated that he was proud of the significant progress made at the site since the ground breaking ceremony on February, 9, 2023.
Praising the vision and ingenuity of Tingo Group Founder, Dozy Mmobuosi, Cleverly stated “I am really excited to be here. These ideas just begin on paper as developed by our Group Chairman but when you actually see it begin to come up in reality, it makes you happy especially because this is a project that will give real work to real people.
Cleverly who led a team of Tingo executives stated further “The project is going to be useful to many people here in this local community and also to our farmers as we would be able to bring their produce here and add value. Instead of exporting, or their crops perishing due to logistical issues, all of a sudden, they have a place where they can sell their goods at very good rate.
“A lot of money goes out of this country because people import stuff that were actually produced here. And so if we can it, box it and package it, we can sell it outside this country and earn foreign exchange instead and create a whole value chain.
“Indeed, we are super excited about the future prospects of this facility. What I have seen here is evidence of what Nigeria does when they work together.
“For the community, first you can see people working here, they will majorly be from here and for the farmers around here, they will be able to bring their produce here too. And then, once we have done the value add, they will also be the consumers of what we produce. So the goal is to feed them through giving them work and providing a market to buy their produce.
“At Tingo Foods, it is our believe that Nigeria can feed itself, Nigeria can feed Africa and Africa can feed the world. I am super proud of this project”.
Also speaking, Nema Singh, CEO, Tingo Foods, noted “Where we are standing today is the future industrial park of Delta State. Our vision is to process world class products that come out of the Nigerian soil and take African gastronomy to the global market.
“I believe Nigeria is on the trajectory of growth and it is high time, the Nigeria consumers can own a brand that they can truly call their own. This will be a truly home-grown brand of products that will be available globally. I know it is a big vision and I have faith in this vision and I am looking forward to this journey.
The facility tour proper was conducted by Project Contractor, Mr. Tunji Moyero, MD/ CEO of Standites Nigeria Limited.
He revealed that there was an initial hitch in the pace of work because of the boundary dispute between Onicha-Ugbo and the neigbouring community. He stated that now that their differences had been resolved, there will not be any hindrance as his company was committed to work daily till completion date.
With the 3D emblazoned on the massive fence of the facility, he revealed “This project will last for 24 months including plumbing and electrical works.
He explained that the facilities which would be set on a total of 40 hectares of land would include the administrative block, rice mill factory, cereal factory, silos, clinic and a guest house for visitors among others.
He stated, “As we know here in Delta State, we have plenty palm tree plantations. So we have plans for a vegetable oil and margarine factory. There will also be the noodles and spaghetti factory.
“We will also be having a cashew processing factory. There is a rich supply of cashew in the South West and North Central so this is a very good location to site such a factory. We will also be having a plant for tea and coffee.
“There will also be a water bottling factory within this processing facility. Of course, this is how our warehouse will look like for storage of finished goods and agricultural produce. Then there is the general warehouse.
“That is not all, Tingo Foods Processing Facility will also have a chocolate and biscuit factory. You will also have canteen and imposing Admin Block which is the first building that we would put up. In the next two months that will be up as we are prefabricating some of the materials.
“We have our truck parking lot and power station, and of course, this is greenfield facility and we have our waste management area here too. The facility will be eco-friendly with a solar power facility too.
“I must add that there is a Phase Two. The Phase One covers a land mass of 18.9 hectares, while Phase Two will cover 21.1 hectares. Together, this facility will be sitting on 40 hectares. When you come back here in about two months, you will see a different facility as some of the structures would by then be in place.
He revealed that seven tractors were working on site while 104 workers are currently working in such sections as masonry, carpentry, excavation, welding and fabrication and others.
Mr Moyero stated that the work force will grow even higher as the project progresses, while adding that majority of the workers are Nigerians from the immediate community and beyond.
On his part, Mr. Bassey Unaowo, Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture stated that the Federal Government is ready to work with development partners like African Development Bank (AfDB), others to assist companies especially in the area of infrastructure like roads, electricity and security.
“I want to suggest to this plant to also have a one-stop shop that will include all the regulatory agencies that will regulate the quality of the products that will be made here so that there will not problems.
“They will be able to get the requisite certification even for export. The Federal government will assist but the company has to set up the structure.
“I am very happy to see the project gradually come alive. I was here few months ago with the Honourable Minister for the ground breaking ceremony and I am happy that construction is already taking place.
“It is my hope that construction will soon finish in the time they have said and production will commence in earnest. We in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture are happy that this project is sited here, it is our hope that other investors will follow the footsteps of Tingo and build similar agro-based facilities, oil and gas is getting old, agriculture is what is in vogue”.
Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Edo State, HRH Baki Dokwo said members of the association are happy that such a huge project is sited in Nigeria, that their farm produce will not be a waste any longer.
He noted that whatever agricultural produce the factory requires will be provided by farmers, who are getting ready to reap the benefits of the facility.
Earlier, before proceeding to the project site for the tour, the team had paid a courtesy call on the traditional ruler of the town, HRM Obi Victor Chukwumalieze 1, Agbogidi of Onicha Ugbo and Diokpa Umu Ezechime Kingdom.
His Majesty who received the team with his Council of Chief and some senior citizens thanked Tingo Food for its commitment to the project and promised that the palace and people will offer all the support needed to complete the project in the earliest possible time.
Asides Dr. Cleverly, Other Tingo Executives on the tour were: Auwal Tahir Maude, CEO, Tingo Mobile Plc and Ebuwa Martins Agbonwaneten, CEO, Tingo Media & Dozy Mmobuosi Foundation.
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