The Federal Government is setting its sights on saving Nigeria at least $1 billion in foreign exchange, with its planned inauguration of a large eggplant in the country’s South West. News of the plant’s impending launch broke on Tuesday.
The egg powder production plant is being set up through a partnership between the Ondo State government and Greenfield Assets, a Lagos based infrastructure development company. The plant, which is touted as the largest egg powder facility in Africa, is located in Emure-Ile, twelve kilometres west of the city of Owo in Ondo State. Apart from keeping scarce foreign exchange from being spent on egg powder imports, the project is expected to create about 25,000 jobs.
Isaac Okorafor, Acting Director of Corporate Communications for the Central Bank of Nigeria, in a statement delivered in Abuja on Tuesday, explained that Greenfield Assets, the private partner in the deal, was setting up separate plants for the mass production of poultry meat and eggs. The meat processing plant will produce meat from 4,000 birds in an hour when it becomes fully functional, and the egg powder plant will make egg powder out of 500,000 eggs daily. The eggs will be supplied from a farm housing layers, while meat will be made available from a 10 million broiler farm. Greenfield Assets is to situate all these facilities within a 150-hectare space, Mr. Okorafor said.
Figures disclosed by the project initiators suggest that the project will gulp over N28 billion; project operations and technical issues will be handled by Big Dutchman, an agricultural equipment manufacturer.
The eggplant is, in fact, part of a Federal Government led the initiative to raise the country’s poultry production capacity. This plan, the National Egg Production (NEGPRO) scheme, is a collaborative initiative involving the Federal Government and Tuns Farms, one of Nigeria’s biggest poultry products producers. Both these parties say it is designed with the goal of creating at least a million jobs in the poultry industry production and distribution chain. Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, said in January that the scheme would kick off in Ondo State, and would be established in other states afterwards. An official at the Ministry of Agriculture explained that the NEGPRO scheme would be rolled out over the next five years, with the aim of providing about 50 million table eggs daily for local processing, consumption and export.
Facilitators of the National Egg Production Scheme include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Bank of Industry (BOI), and the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC).
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