A Zimbabwean farmer, Alvin Reid has disclosed that arrangements are in top gear to establish a tomato paste factory worth 35million Euros in Shonga Farms in Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Reid, who owns Shonga Dairy Farm 3, told our correspondent on Tuesday at Shonga that the factory would be bigger than Dangote’s Tomato Plant in Kano.
The White farmer also disclosed that the establishment of a cassava factory is being planned. The plant, according to him, will produce 60,000 tonnes of cassava flour per hour.
Shonga Farms was an idea of the Governor Bukola Saraki-led administration in 2008 with a view to making Kwara State a hub for commercial farming.
The establishment, which, according to him, is in its advanced stage, will ensure the white farmers plant 1,000 hectares of tomatoes in Shonga Farms, to serve as raw materials for the factory.
“We are in advanced stage and early next year, construction will begin. The factory will generate thousands of employment,” Reid hinted.
On the benefits of the cassava factory, he noted that there would be sharp reduction in the importation of flour, adding that it would further enhance collaboration between the white farmers and their local counterparts in growing thousands of hectares of cassava.
“The factory will take 18 months to be completed. We plan to start construction early next year. Once the factory is up and running, we will need to cultivate several thousand hectares of cassava. We are also in partnership with the locals. We will finance them to grow and sell to us.
“Prior to the astronomical increase in dollar value, it was not economically viable to grow cassava here as it was cheaper importing wheat. But now the reverse is the case,” he said.
Reid said that the factory would be the biggest cassava processing factory in West Africa, with capacity of producing 60,000 metric tonnes of flour per hour.
“Our tomato paste factory will also be the biggest in the sub-region; it is bigger than Dangote paste factory in Kano.”
“By early 2017, the construction of the factory will commence. The financial implications of setting up the factory is 35 million Euros and it is under Goldie Logo farms,” he said