Posted by Garba Ahmad, Kaduna | 20 June 2014 | 5,682 times
After many years under lock and key, Kaduna State Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero has reopened the Ikara Food Processing Company Limited, makers of Ikara Tomato Paste.
Now leased to a foreign company, Ikara Food Processing Company remained moribund for over two decades until Tuesday when Governor Yero reopened the factory through a Public-Private Partnership with an Indian firm.
Speaking during the reopening ceremony held at the company premises in Ikara Local Government Area of the state, the governor said the move was part of his administration’s commitment to continuity and actualisation of all projects initiated by past regimes in the state.
He said: “Our administration remains focused in achieving the objective of boosting investment by encouraging private sector participation, in the economic growth and development of the state. As you may be aware, the State Government is fashioning out its Policy Framework on Investment, Commerce & Industry (PFI&CI), tailored towards providing the much-needed enabling environment for private investors to do business with ease in Kaduna State.
“Apart from tomato, Kaduna State is blessed with other important crops, such as maize, cassava, ginger, groundnut, and mineral resources, whose value-chain development could be a source of employment for our teeming unemployed youths, create wealth and reduce poverty. We are committed to supporting MSMEs, who would venture into agro processing, so as to take full advantage of this.”
Governor Yero said his administration is also in talks with foreign investors that have indicated interests in taking over other food processing companies owned by the state.
“Apart from tomato, Kaduna State is blessed with other important crops, such as maize, cassava, ginger, groundnut, and mineral resources, whose value-chain development could be a source of employment for our teeming unemployed youths, create wealth and reduce poverty. We are committed to supporting MSMEs, who would venture into agro processing, so as to take full advantage of this,” the governor said.
He said to explore the value chain advantage of the crops, talks have reached advance stages with potential partners towards reopening the Makarfi Sugar Company, the Kachia Ginger Processing Company, the Zaria Pharmaceutical Company and Kafanchan Flour Mills.
Governor Yero called on the operators of the Ikara Tomato Company; Messrs Springfield Agro Limited to revamp the company as contained in the agreement entered with the State Government.
“I must congratulate Springfield Agro Ltd for emerging successful out of many companies that bid for Ikara Food Processing Company Limited,” Yero said. “Your selection was purely based on merit, and we hope you will not let the State Government and the people down.
“It is also pertinent to inform Springfield Agro Ltd that, though Ikara Food Processing Company Limited was established 33 years ago, it is still in good condition and operational. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure proper maintenance culture of the factory, machinery and equipment. It is now your responsibility to properly secure facilities at this factory against theft and vandalism. Above all, the Lease Agreement that was signed today should be strictly adhered to for the benefit of both parties in the agreement.”
The company has an installed capacity for processing of 16,950 tons of tomatoes, 5,760 tons of mangos, 5,120 tons of oranges and 780 tons of pineapple per annum, which are to be sourced locally. The factory has 700 hectares of land purposely for tomato farming.
In his speech earlier, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Joshua Skekarau Uchissa, said the leasing of the company was a step in the right direction and that it is expected to generate employment, create business activities and boost farming.
Also speaking, at the event, Managing Director of Kewalram Group, owners of Sprinfield Agro Limited, Mr. Tarun K. Das, expressed the commitment of his company to ensuring the viability of the company.
•Photo shows Governor Yero.
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