Vicampro’s potato revolution in Plateau
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.