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Rivers cassava initiative attracts partnership

Rivers State government cassava initiative has attracted the government of Netherlands and other business concerns towards developing rural cassava farmers from subsistence to commercial income generating entrepreneurs in the state.

This followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dutch government represented by its Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Berth Ronhar, International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC), Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Union Bank to actualize the vision.

After signing the MoU for the establishment of a 30,000 tons of cassava processing factory at Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, urged the partners to go beyond signing of the MoU to ensure proper actualization of the project because Rivers people are expecting to see the outcome of the event.

Amaechi commended the Dutch government for identifying with the initiative, assuring that the state government was prepared to partner with them anytime they wish and expressed happiness with their readiness to assist the state in alleviating poverty and ultimately reduce crime in the area.

He thanked all the partners for their interest in the project and enjoined them to work together to achieve the purpose, while calling on Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) to increase its cassava farm holding because of the availability of a processing plant.

The state chief executive said it takes a lot of courage for European ambassadors to come to Niger Delta, but the presence of Ambassador Ronhar shows the kind of importance attached to the project by the Dutch government, especially with the poverty alleviation component of it.

On behalf of the partners, the Ambassador of Netherlands, Dr Berth Ronhar, said the discussions leading to the MoU started about a year ago when the Embassy undertook to coordinate and facilitate the partners by bringing them together through the Ministry in the Hague with financial assistance.

He explained that the signing of the agreement was an example of the support given by his government to Nigerian Small Farmers in Cassava production, noting that they were happy to sign the documents because it offers opportunity for self-employment, food security, peace and stability through the development of the rural areas.

According to him, “We are therefore contributing to the unprecedented development of the rural communities by creating income, peace and stability,” adding that the Dutch government is supporting what the Rivers State Government is doing in the state. It would be recalled that the 30,000 tons of cassava processing factory is to be sited at Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area as an initiative of the state government to improve the socio economic status of the rural areas.

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