The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has given approval to Union Dicon Salt Plc to replace Cargill as the core investor in the $100m Alape Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Kogi State.
This formed the high point of the meeting of the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, with the Chief Executives of UDS Plc. in Abuja at the week end.
Speaking at the meeting, Chief Ogbeh said, “I’m glad to see that a Nigerian company is taking over this very important project, and is championing the indigenous development of agribusiness. We are not going to engage in policy somersault.
“We are carrying on with the great idea of SCPZ and we are adding even greater ideas. We are carrying on as we now produce what we call the green alternative: that alternative being agriculture, since oil and gas are unstable sources of income.”
Chuka Mordi and Bex Nwawudu of Union Dicon Salt Plc. who met with the Minister, thanked him for his support, in taking over the Alape project valued at $100 million, replacing Cargill, the US-based agro-industrial giant.
Towards this end, Union Dicon plc will be cultivating Cassava on 30,000 hectares of land in Alape, Kogi State.
“It is a remarkable opportunity to develop the agribusiness space in Nigeria from a fully indigenous perspective. Union Dicon is listed in the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and it is a wholly Nigerian company.
“We are grateful for the support given by the Minister, and the Agriculture Ministry, after careful consideration of our proposal. Their detailed understanding and focus on new capital investment, import substitution and job creation really impressed us and allows Union Dicon Plc to move forward confidently in a willing and positive partnership,” he said.
Nwawudu, noted that the outcome of the meeting would accelerate the progress on the Kogi State project in the next few months, expressing readiness to move “very quickly to site.
He thanked the minister for ensuring policy continuity “as a priority,” stressing the “need to ensure local content.
Union Dicon Salt Plc operates in the Nigerian Consumer Goods, and Agro Industrial Sector, and is building the largest industrial starch processing facility in Nigeria.