As community engagement is concluded with stakeholders towards the actualization of investment inflow by the governor Willie Obiano administration, the final stage is set for the commencement of the execution of the Delfarm-Anambra-Songhai Farms Project at Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government Area.
The project estimated to cost one billion, four hundred million dollars ($1.4 bn) will see the Igbariam community, the land owners, getting an equity share of five percent of the total cost of investment while the State government’s equity contribution is the approval Certificate of Occupancy at no cost.
The agreement for the commencement of the project on 398 hectares of land was reached after the meeting of the representatives of the State government representatives, Delfarm Farms Limited, Songhai and leaders of the community at the palace of the traditional ruler, Igwe Nkelly N. Kelly on 22nd September 2015.
The multi-party project is a follow up to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed few months ago among Delfarm headed by Professor Emmanuel Egbogah, Anambra State Government of Chief Obiano and Rev. Dr. Godfrey Nzamuzo-led Songhai Projects Limited.
In his speech, the Commissioner for Land, Hon. Afam Mbanefo who described the project as one of the best coming to the State pointed out that, the project, when completed, will generate thousands of jobs and called on the youths to cooperate with the investors so that the project will go unhindered.
He enjoined the citizens to take advantage of the educational opportunities at the College of Agriculture, Mgbakwu to acquire skills and be qualified for eventual appointment in the Delfarm – Soghai projects, among others.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Town Planning Barrister Stella Onuora expressed happiness that the community is known for its disposition to embrace development, stressing that of the 1000 hectares required for the project, only about 398 hectares will be given by Igbariam while some other parts including Ebenebe will provide the remaining.
Onuora described the investment as one of the greatest things to happen to Igbariam in particular and the State in general, confirming that the State government equity contribution to the project is the granting of free Certificate of Occupancy for the earmarked land.
Earlier in his address, the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA), Chief Joe-Billy Ekwunife disclosed that, apart from Delfarm-Anambra-Songhai Project investment valued at $1.4 billion, an agreement has also been signed by the State government with Lynden Farms Limited for the highly technical mechanized Poultry estimated to cost $150 million on a scalable basis.
Chief Ekwunife, who was accompanied by Special Assistants on Investment and Finance, Ifeanyi Anugwu and Emeka Ezegbu, among others, stated that the modality for the sharing of the five percent entitlement to the community will be formalized.
He revealed that the Obiano administration will ensure that 75 percent of jobs go to qualified persons of Anambra State origin and urged the youths to cooperate with the contractors for peaceful possession and entry.
Mr. Thierry Andre, Songhai Nigeria Coordinator said the Delfam is more than a farm, as it comprises of three components, namely Technological Park, Industrial Park (for production) and Service Park to provide residential as well as other human activities.
He noted that Songhai not only affords such products as oil bean, orange juice, pineapple juice, fish, broiler, and egg, among others, but also equips people with necessary skills.
Mr. Pius Ekwulugo, the MD/CEO of Delfarm Projects Limited thanked the traditional ruler for ensuring peaceful atmosphere for pre-take-off talk and assured that the investors will keep to the terms of the agreement.
He added that there is a plan for expansion of Delfarm Songhai project to other States of the federation.
Earlier, the traditional ruler of Igbariam, Igwe Kelly welcomed the visitors for appreciating the need to negotiate meaningfully with the community and promised an unhindered access to the land by the investors and urged the investors to fully implement the agreement.
The President-General of Igbariam Progress Union (IPU), Mr. Jude Ikechukwu Orizu, and representatives of Ndichie, Ndi Ojiani, Iru na Abo, and youths appreciated government interest to develop the area and pledged unalloyed support.
From Osiberoha Osibe