BlackPace Africa, an Africa-focused investment management and advisory firm, and the Plateau State government have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) towards a joint development arrangement to upscale potato production in the state and set up a potato processing facility in Jos, the state capital.
The facility will produce French fries, potato flakes and potato crisps within the next eight months.
This agreement was executed last month, after several meetings with the state executives, including the Governor of Plateau State Simon Lalong, commissioner of agriculture and rural development, Lynda Barau, and commissioner for commerce and industry, Ezekiel Daju. Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong:
“We are willing to provide the enabling environment to support this laudable project based on the fact that Plateau State accounts for over 90 percent of potatoes produced in Nigeria.”
“In addition we believe the projects (potato production and processing) are capable of boosting the state’s economy and provide job opportunities especially to the teeming population of our youths.”
The joint project is supported by leading global institutions like KfW Ipex Bank, EKN of Sweden, Elof Hansson International AB, Rosenqvists Food Technologies AB and Afrexim Bank.
The processing facility, which will be of world-class state of the art standard, will process 60,000 tons annually of Irish potatoes into French fries, flakes and crisps. This will provide a boost to the economy of the state and increase jobs creation.
Potato production in Plateau State currently accounts for up to 90 percent of potato production in Nigeria. The need to increase production capacity from current 800,000 metric tons to 3 million tons is achievable within the next four to five years.
Bringing in new seed varieties and farming equipment to support local farmers are essential ingredients to achieving this goal. We are putting strategic framework in place while discussing with local partners, ASTC and GIZ to provide both technical and training support to out-growers.
“Plateau State is keen to increase its potato production and its value chain to further create more jobs and boost its economy.”
“The current economic situation in Nigeria calls for a complete shift of focus to agriculture. Our potato project will attract an additional $1 billion to the Plateau state economy in 5 years by increasing the potato output to 2 million tons of high quality potatoes and processing potatoes into French fries, potato flakes and crisps.”
Olusegun Paul Andrew, executive chairman of BlackPace:
“We are pleased to advance this project with the Plateau State government and would sincerely thank His Excellency Governor Simon Lalong for his foresight and strong determination to improve on the local economy of Plateau State with this project.”
“Our potato project will certainly create close to 3,000 jobs whilst working with out-growers and will also create 300 immediate jobs once the processing facility resumes operation.”