FORMER president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has announced plans to create 1,000 jobs in Benue State with the expansion of his mango plantation in Howe in Gwer East Local Government Area and the opening of adjoining processing plants.
During a visit to Howe earlier today, Chief Obasanjo said 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. He added that factories for processing fruits would be built and over a 1,000 people would be employed when they are completed.
Chief Obasanjo said: “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 and we have about 140 hectares of land for the project.”
He added 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. Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, who accompanied Chief Obasanjo on the visit, said the state government was ready to facilitate an enabling environment for investors to invest.
Governor Ortom said agriculture remained the only permanent gold mine in the country, stressing that it was even far more than oil. He said his administration would support the private sector and promote development and provide employment for the Benue people.