By Emmanuel Antswen
Makurdi – Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian President, says his mango plantation in Howe, Gwer East Local Government Area will employ over 1,000 workers in Benue.
Obasanjo made the disclosure on Monday in Howe during a visit to the farm to inspect the progress made so far.
He said that the plantation would produce and process finished products such as juice from assorted fruits and oil from the seeds that could be used by pharmaceutical companies among others.
“I have come for four things, first to see how the farm has started, thank the governor for his encouragement; thank the community for accepting us and lastly give the workers the way forward.
“The workers are from this community. The mangoes will start producing between three to four years time. We have about 140 hectares of land for the project.’’
The former president said that factories for processing fruits would be built and over a 1,000 people would be employed at completion.
He said that the oranges, mangoes and other fruits produced by farmers in the state would not enough be enough to run the factories, hence the need for the plantation.
Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue, who accompanied Obasanjo on the visit, said the state government was ready to facilitate the enabling environment for investors to invest.
Ortom said agriculture remained the only permanent gold mine in the country, stressing that it was even far more than oil.
He said that his administration would support the private sector and promote development and provide employment for the Benue people.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Obasanjo had earlier laid foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi School for “Children with Special Needs” in Igbor, Gwer East local government area.