Vi­cam­pro’s potato revo­lu­tion in Plateau

Daily Trust - - AGRICULTURE - From Hir Joseph, Jos

The farm lies on a land size of about 700 hectares cur­rently un­der har­row­ing to cul­ti­vate in the first phase be­fore the pro­jected ex­pan­sion comes in sub­se­quently.

30 tonnes of pota­toes would be pro­duced on that land size which spreads across two com­mu­ni­ties of Kwaal in Bassa Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area, and Gyel in Jos South area.

It is a farm in­vest­ment ini­ti­ated by var­i­ous part­ners in Ger­many, and taken to Kwaal on a busi­ness pro­jected to be­come West Africa’s largest pro­duc­ers of pota­toes.

It is called Vi­cam­pro Farm Sites, de­signed for mech­a­nized pota­toes pro­duc­tion, stor­age and pro­cess­ing, as well as equip­ment leas­ing to boost lo­cal zeal in the pro­duc­tion of the agri­cul­tural prod­uct which has as­sumed a sta­tus sym­bol among Nige­ri­ans.

The latest farm tech­nol­ogy from Ger­many has al­ready been as­sem­bled on the site, si­t­u­ated few kilo­me­tres from Jos city, along Zaria Road, north of the North­Cen­tral state. But more tech­nol­ogy - with the ca­pac­ity to cul­ti­vate a 100 tonnes per day - is still be­ing ex­pected to ar­rive when needed for use.

“In about eight weeks to come, we are sure to as­sem­ble all of the equip­ment,” Ag­bogo Michael, the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor/Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer told Daily Trust. “We are just start­ing, but we pro­ject a mas­sive ex­pan­sion to come soon as we start up; that way, our equip­ment will be fully uti­lized. We are look­ing at the near fu­ture where we can do 100 tonnes per day.” Potato revo­lu­tion Ag­bogo, a Ger­man-based engi­neer called this in­vest­ment “a potato revo­lu­tion,” say­ing it has the po­ten­tial to turn world at­ten­tion to the fine Plateau soil and cli­mate, akin to the global at­ten­tion the oil rich states of Nige­ria Delta are get­ting.

He said it took EIMA, Schnedier, Grimme, Bleinch, Val­ley Ir­ri­ga­tion, and GAUGELE GMBH, all Ger­man giants in potato pro­duc­tion, stor­age and pro­cess­ing equip­ments to put up the ini­ti­a­tion which pro­posal was on the ta­ble for about one and a half years to make up the fi­nal busi­ness de­ci­sion.

The part­ners, he said, have the po­ten­tials to bring the world look­ing the way of Plateau State.

“The dif­fer­ence be­tween Plateau State and oil reach states is the in­vest­ment,” he said, ex­plain­ing that the pres­ence of oil and gas on the soil of Niger Delta alone would not have made most of them into the top 10 rev­enue earn­ers with­out in­vestors in that in­dus­try.

“That Plateau State ranks among the states on the bot­tom of rev­enue earn­ers ,is tied to the ab­sence of in­vestors here. With these pota­toes giants in Ger­many com­ing here, you can be sure Plateau will have the same at­ten­tion given to the oil and gas rich states,” the CEO said.

He said the in­vest­ment rep­re­sents the fu­ture of potato in­dus­try in Nige­ria. “Our mis­sion is not to have a large chunk of a small pie but rather to grow the en­tire po­ta­toe in­dus­try in Nige­ria and the sub-re­gion.

The CEO spoke to Daily Trust af­ter he un­veiled the in­vest­ment at a Jos cer­e­mony which at­tracted the man­age­ment of the Vi­cam­pro’s part­ners from Ger­many, and lo­cal stake­hold­ers. Rolf Eit­ing, CEO of EIMA, a food pro­cess­ing ma­chines gi­ant in Ger­many, was at the event.

Some of the stake­hold­ers are into potato pro­duc­tion, from where Vi­cam­pro is al­ready sourc­ing the first seeds to cul­ti­vate the first farm site of 30 tonnes, ac­cord­ing to Ag­bogo.

There are also some stake­hold­ers, who would be in­ter­ested in the high qual­ity French fries, and they are scat­tered around the coun­try and much of West Africa in­clud­ing Ghana where Vi­cam­pro is eye­ing a huge mar­ket po­ten­tial. Stor­age and pro­cess­ing: The CEO said Vi­cam­pro has pro­cured and as­sem­bled a mod­u­lar 12,000 tons cold stor­age fa­cil­ity which en­sures that “we have a sta­ble and re­li­able sup­ply chain of ware pota­toes to the mar­ket.”

“Our two tons per our out­put French fries fa­cil­ity is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion and would en­sure that there is a mar­ket for high potato pro­duc­tion an­tic­i­pated from our farms and our part­ner farm­ers,” Ag­bogo said.:

Rolf Eit­ing, CEO of EIMA, a food pro­cess­ing ma­chines gi­ant in Ger­many, also spoke to Daily Trust, say­ing he was im­pressed with what he saw on the ground; a peo­ple de­ter­mined to sus­tain ef­forts in pota­toes pro­duc­tion in spite of the chal­lenges they face.

“We are still meet­ing with the farm­ers and other stake­hold­ers, and we are ex­pect­ing a re­sult that will boost this in­dus­try in Nige­ria,” Rolf Eit­ing said.

Farm sites agron­o­mist, Gyang Dung told Daily Trust that the in­vest­ment is on its way to ex­pand­ing the fron­tiers of the potato in­dus­try in Nige­ria.

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