The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Kebbi State Government have cultivated cassava on 2,675 hectares of land for production of bio-ethanol in the state.
Chairman of the Kebbi State Standing Committee on Biofuel, Prof. Mohammad Ka’oje, made this known in a statement issued to newsmen on Thursday, July 23, 2020 in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital.
Ka’oje said the cultivated area was part of the 5,000 hectares acquired for the project to be jointly financed at the cost of N500 million each by both NNPC and Kebbi government.
“The obligation of both partners is that the state government is mandated to provide 20,000 hectares of land each for the cassava and sugarcane projects while the NNPC on the other hand is responsible for land validations.
“I wish to seize this opportunity to report to you that KBSG has met all its obligations under the MoU.
“In addition, it was agreed at a joint meeting of the partners that the state government should cultivate 5,000 hectares of cassava which will also form additional equity share for the state.
“So far, 2,675 hectares have been cultivated and fully established. This is for the purpose of generating seedlings and raw material for test run of the machinery.
“The NNPC on the other hand is responsible for land validation, soil testing, feasibility studies, community integration, stakeholders’ Engagement and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA),” he said.
According to Ka’oje, the land validation is contracted to Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto and Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, in Sokoto and Adamawa States, for cassava and sugarcane respectively.
The chairman said that the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was also handling the agriculture component of the feasibility study.
“The feasibility studies, soil testing and mapping have reached advanced stage of completion.
“The total financial implication of these to the NNPC is about N500 million.
“The Kebbi State Government has expended nearly the same amount towards meeting its own part of the obligation,” the chairman said.
The NNPC and the state government signed an MoU in 2017 on cassava and sugarcane projects for bio-ethanol production.
The project targets about 20,000 hectares of land for local farmers to cultivates crops for the government in Gwazawa town in Kanya district of Zuru emirate in the state.
By Ibrahim Bello