Fruit Garden Market bounces back as Rivers set to sell N3.2Bn Songhai Farms

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By Codratus Godson

Fruit Garden Market is to roar back on June 8, 2020. Also, the Rivers State Government has put for sale again the Songhai Farms it once said was no more for sale.

 

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Fruit Garden Market is to reopen on June 8, 2020, so declared the Rivers State government Thursday night.

Also, Rivers State’s most expensive agric project, Songhai Farms, said to be the biggest Songhai Farms model in Africa, is back in the market to be sold to the highest bidder. This was disclosed in a statement released Thursday night by the Commissioner of Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Msirim.

Songhai was put up for sale in 2014 but political violence and crisis that kicked in around 2013 in the state scared away prospective bidders from the US, UK and South Africa; with John Deere of Moline in Illinois (US) as the leading contender. The project was to decide to stop any sale in 2015, preferring to go fully commercial. Now, the state government said the project that has since been abandoned and overgrown with grasses should be sold off. There has been clamour for the return of Songhai Farms and most other agric projects in the state before the present administration came on board.

The statement said the decision was taken in the state’s executive council meeting of same day. He said the state executive council approved the concession of existing agricultural facilities in the state to investors who are interested in bringing their expertise to bear in harnessing the potentials in the sector. “The council said the decision is predicated on the fact that the state is being driven to become the agricultural hub in the south-south region.’

The statement said the Commissioner of Agriculture, Fred Kpakol, had unveiled the details saying ready investors would be expected to indicate interest in any of the agricultural facilities existing in the state.

”He said there are fish farms and multi-crop school-to-land farms in the 23 local government areas of the state including the Songhai Farms that are now available for investors who want to key into the agricultural programme of the government to achieve food security and generate employment for Rivers people.

”The commissioner also said the name of the cassava plant at Afam, Oyigbo local government area of the state has changed name to Rivers Cassava Processing Company limited. Kpakol said the change became necessary because one of its partners, DATCO changed the name it used in 2011 on the contractual agreement, which made it cease to be a recognised entity.”

The government went ahead to announce resumption of Fruit Garden Market in Port Harcourt (Ogbum-nu-abali Fruit Market) which was rebuilt after an evening fire disaster in September 2018, saying those allocated the modern stalls must pay the necessary fees within deadline or lose the allocations.

GOVT FULL STATEMENT

RIVERS STATE GOVERNMENT WOOS INVESTORS TO GROW AGRICULTURAL POTENTIALS

-OGBUNABALI FRUITS MARKETS OPENS FOR BUSINESS

Rivers state Executive Council has approved the concession of existing agricultural facilities in the state to investors who are interested in bringing their expertise to bear in harnessing the potentials in the sector.

At its meeting held on Thursday, June 4, 2020 that held at Government House Port Harcourt, which was presided over by the state governor , Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, the council said the decision is predicated on the fact that the state is been driven to become the agricultural hub in the south-south region.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol said such investors will be expected to indicate interest in any of the agricultural facilities existing in the state.

He said there are fish farms and multi-crop school-to- land farms in the 23 local government areas of the state including the Songhai Farms that are now available for investors who want to key into the agricultural programme of the government to achieve food security and generate employment for Rivers people.

The commissioner also said the name of the cassava plant at Afam, Oyigbo local government area of the state has changed to Rivers Cassava Processing Company limited.

Dr. Kpakol said the change became necessary because one  of its partners, Datco changed the name  it used in 2011 on the contractual agreement, which made it cease to be a recognised entity.

According to him,  the equity share holding of the partners in the investment still stands at 70% for Rivers State Government, Datco has 28% and SPDC 2%.

Also addressing journalists after the meeting, the Rivers State Commissioner for health, Professor Princewill Chike said after the index covid-19 case was recorded, the state government had taken measures to contain the spread of the virus in the state.
The success of those measures, he said, is evident in minimal spread seen.

Prof.  Chike said the testing capacity of the state has also been boosted with the acquisition of testing machine by the state government, which now aids the collection of more samples daily.

Commissioner for special duties,  Dr. Thomas Bariere said council also approved the opening of the Ogbum-nu-abali Fruit Market for daily business activities beginning from Monday 8th June 2020.

He said all allottees have been issued designated bank accounts into which to pay the required shop allocation fees and any person who failed to pay within the stipulated time will risk losing ownership.

Dr. Bariere stated that all traders and members of the public going to do business at the market must observe all public health and safety standards including the use of face masks.

He said there will be hand washing facilities provided at the entrances of the market for use by people going to do business there, including the use of hand sanitisers and physical distancing must not be compromised.

On his part, Rivers state commissioner for information and communications Paulinus Nsirim said council hss also approved guidelines to adopt by members of the public who want to bury their loved ones during this period of covid-19 pandemic.

He urged those who want to bury their loved ones to apply to the ministry of health to obtain the guidelines that has clearly spelt out what they should do and the attendant sanctions to incur should they violate any of the guidelines

(Source: Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, Commissioner for Information and Communications, June O4, 2020)

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