FORMER Abia governor and eminent businessman, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has revealed plans to set up a 12,000 hectares of farm in the state valued at over $400 million.
Kalu, who disclosed this at the weekend when he visited outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Gu Xiaojie, said when fully operational, the farm would create millions of jobs for Nigerians and export, in commercial quantity, to other parts of the world.
While thanking the Chinese envoy for establishing strong ties with the Nigerian government and the people, Kalu said as soon as the ongoing drafting of the project plan for the farm is ready, it would be unveiled to the public.
He added that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Chinese Nexim Bank, as well as Sign Ocean company, located in the Southeast country, will be approached to provide financial support for the takeoff of the multi-million project.
Kalu said: “It was good having you here and we hope that other Chinese Ambassadors will work very hard like you. I also hope they will build on the relationship you have established with Nigerian government and the people. I believe the Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria have a lot to learn from each other.
“We believe the recent visit of President Buhari to China will usher in development in the agricultural, business and other sectors of the economy.
“As you are aware, our company has placed orders for ships worth over $250 million from China companies. We are in discussion with a Chinese company. We have 12,000 hectares of land in Abia State. The drawings are in progress on how to have a modern farm that will have palm oil farm in 5,000 hectares. We will plant maize in 2,000 hectares and other vegetables in 1,000 hectares.
“We are going to have a big poultry and field mills. We are in discussion. Once we are done with the drawings, we will make an application to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Abia State government and the Chinese Nexim Bank. We will also apply to Sign Ocean Company so that we can work together on the equipment and support needed for the take off of the farm.
“We are hoping this cooperation will be of great importance to Nigeria and China. I do not know the exact net worth of the farm. They are still working on that. But, it should be in the neighborhood of $400 million. It is going to be a huge farm for exports.”
In his response, the outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Xiaojie, said China and Nigeria have very close contacts and would continue to maintain them. He said efforts were already in place to commence the full implementation of the outcome of President Buhari’s visit to China in April.
He recalled how, during his tenure in Nigeria, the country witnessed a very smooth transition from one government to another.
He further noted that the visit of President Buhari to China was a landmark achievement in the Nigeria-China diplomatic relationship. He said during his tenure as head of the Chinese envoy to Nigeria, both countries witnessed the 45th celebration of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
China, he added, would want to build on the existing ties between the two countries, saying that in his two-year stint in the country, he took out time to visit some states, even as he expressed regret that he could not visit all. He expressed confidence in the future of Nigeria, a country he said, has great potentials.
“Nigeria and Chinese government officials are working closely to commence the implementation of the outcome of the state visit of President Buhari to China. These are in the areas of industry, commerce, agriculture, health and other sectors of the economy,” he revealed.The Sun