Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Government of Kebbi State have utilized 2,675 hectares of land, out of 5,000 hectares assigned for the plantation of cassava for ethanol production in the State.
The NNPC and the Kebbi government had signed an MoU in 2017 on the project which targets about 20,000 hectares of land in excess for the local farmers to cultivates both crops for the governments in Gwazawa town in Kanya district at Dankowasagu Local Government Area, in the Zuru Emirate area of the State.
The Chairman of the Kebbi State Standing Committee on Biofuel, Professor Mohammad Abubakar Kaoje, who confirmed this in a statement personally issued to newsmen on Thursday in Birnin Kebbi, also disclosed that both NNPC and Kebbi government would expand N500,000,000 each on the project.
Kaoje, who stated the obligations of both partners, disclosed that, while the Kebbi State Government was mandated to provide 20,000 hectares of land each for the two projects, the NNPC, on the other hand, are responsible for land validations.
‘I wish to seize this opportunity to report to you that KBSG has met all its obligations under MoU. In addition, it was agreed at a joint meeting of the partners that KBSG should cultivate 5,000 hectares of cassava which will also form additional equity share for Kebbi State.
‘So far, 2,675 hectares have been cultivated and fully established. This is for the purpose of generating seedlings and raw material for the test run of the machinery.
‘The NNPC, on the other hand, is responsible for land validation, soil testing, feasibility studies, community integration, stakeholders engagement and environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA).’
He disclosed that the land validation exercise was contracted to Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto and the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola for cassava and Sugar cane respectively.
Kaoje also said that Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, is also handling the agricultural component of the feasibility study.
According to him, ‘these, the feasibility studies, soil testing and mapping have reached an advanced stage of completion. The total financial implication of these to the NNPC is about five hundred million naira.
‘The KBSG has expended nearly the same amount towards meeting its own part of the obligation,’ he added.