“Nigeria is the only country in West Africa with the ability to naturally grow potatoes, which have the shortest grow-time of 90 days from planting to harvest”
Frances’s Vicampro Farm is partnering with Kaduna state goverment to construct a $120 million potato and rice processing plant, according to an announcement made by the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Daniel Manzo Maigari at a joint press conference with members of the Vicampro management team at the Government House, Kaduna.
The initiative constitutes an economic diversification drive undertaken by the state Governor, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, to address the economic challenges affecting both the state of Kaduna and Nigeria as a whole.
According to the report, the facility will be the largest of its kind in West Africa, potatoes will be sourced from local farmers to meet its daily processing capacity of 2,500 tons with 60 percent export tendency.
As stated by Michael Agbogo, the managing director of Vicampro “the company is aiming to create the largest agribusiness in Africa because Nigeria has the potential of doing so, in terms of land (and) people to diversify the economy”.
An information obtained from the company website indicates “ Vicampro has a goal in place to cultivate 10,000 hectares over the next five years”. Vicampro is currently cultivating 700 hectares in the Kwali community of Plateau State and is developing 1,300 hectares in Manchok Kaura L.G.A. in Kaduna State. With 25,000 farmers to develop its out-grower network vicampro is on the verge break new frontier.
This development is expected to create 30,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs over the next five years, and will save Nigeria $400 million on potato seed and French fry imports.
The export sale of processed potato products across the West African region, which currently heavily depends upon imports from the EU and South Africa, is also expected to provide an economic benefit to Nigeria’s economy equal to $600 million.
In a statement by adediran adeola, vicampro secretary and legal advisor “[The] majority of the French fries that we consume in Nigeria are imported,” said Adediran Adeola, secretary and legal advisor to Vicampro reports Nigerian media outlet, Leadership. “The potato plant will bridge the importation gap of French fries, open up rural communities and create huge employment in rural areas when completed.
Speaking on potato investment, Agbogo noted that “Nigeria is the only country in West Africa with the ability to naturally grow potatoes, which have the shortest grow-time of 90 days from planting to harvest. This short growth cycle enables farmers to have three harvests per year throughout both wet and dry seasons – a key factor when considering that both local and regional demand currently surpass supply”.
“Nigeria is home to a young and able workforce and has an impressive land bank, with current cultivation standing at 270,000 hectares but a potential for 1.15 million hectares. Given these attributes and market factors, Vicampro’s goal is to develop the potato value chain in Nigeria which is a win-win situation for Manchok people of Kaduna State and Nigeria as a whole,” said Adeola.