By Modupe Gbadeyanka
An Integrated Produce City (IPC) project has been inaugurated in Edo State by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The IPC, worth $136 million, was launched by the Vice President at a ceremony held at the location of the project in Ugbokun, near Okada town, a few kilometres away from Benin City, the state capital.
The IPC project is the first in Nigeria and it is expected to transform the lives of thousands of people in the country.
Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, who represented Mr Osinbajo, disclosed that the government moved to establish the IPC because it could not continue to measure its price and value by the quantity of crude exported.
“Let us stop exporting oil as it will help us rediscover who we are,” the Vice President said.
According to Mr Osinbajo, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration will continue to support genuine investors to improve the living conditions of the citizenry.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Edo State, Mr Joe Okojie, said the project was timely and in tandem with the Agricultural Policy of the state.
He promised that the state would provide the enabling environment for the success of the project. The commissioner urged the management of the IPC project to keep its part of the deal by creating all jobs promised in the proposal.
Also speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Chairman of IPC, Prof. Pat Uromi, said the project, which has Edo, Delta, Kogi, Ekiti, Anambra and Ondo, as catchment states, would have 50 factories when completed.
The erudite Economist further said that the project would help to assist the Federal Government in transforming the economy by generating jobs and increasing commercial activities in the catchment states.
He said the proposed city would have regional wholesale produce market as Agro Allied Industrial Park, a Preservation Park, Export Hub and Farm inputs as well as implement and equipment centre. Mr Utomi added that the project would also have a waste conversion and disposal facility as well as other modern city facilities.
Tagged the Agric Value Chain Solution Centre, the IPC chairman said the support infrastructure would include 24 hours electricity and water supply as well as residential accommodation.