Chairman, Chief Executive of Integrated Produce City (IPC), an agriculture and industrial town initiative located near Benin City, Prof. Pat Utomi, has said Governor Godwin Obaseki and his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, will commission the first phase of the IPC next Tuesday.
The ceremonies would include the opening for trading of the facility, unveiling of the temperature-controlled plantain warehouse, turning the sod of the plantain and cassava processing factories and unveiling of the residential estates.
According to a statement, the activities will mark the commencement of business at Africa’s first wholesale produce market, aggregation and industrial centre.
Utomi said the four years of IPC demonstrated how challenging entrepreneurship is in Nigeria but insisted that it also showed that those who persevere could be worthy examples.
Calling on banks to support production rather than trading alone, the political economist said nearly N1 billion was invested in the proof of concept of the project.
Executive Director, Vitus Akudinobi, the facilities, which will include an export processing centre, have several partners, including Edo and Ondo state governments, the Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), federal ministries of Transportation and Agriculture, Infrastructure Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.
He explained that the project, which also has technical partners from South Africa and Turkey, would significantly boost the economies of no fewer than seven states and create jobs from agriculture value chains such as snail, fish farming and horticulture.