A team of technocrats and business development partners under the auspices of Zealhosts Project Bolt Consortium are to invest 500 million dollars into the cassava manufacturing industry in Nigeria.
Dr Tony Bello, Chairman of Shine Bridge Global and Zealhosts Consortium Partner made this known in a statement on Friday.
He said the private sector investment would be channeled through a programme known as ‘Project Bolt’ to speedily achieve the desired result.
The consortium partners included Zealhosts Consulting Services, Berwick Agro, ALTS Consulting, H2AFoods Nigeria, and U.S.-based food and agribusiness advisory service companies, Shine Bridge Global with the support of AfricaGlobal Schaffer.
Bello said the investors were delighted to have entered into a strategic Public Private Partnership with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
According to him, the goal is to work together toward revitalisation of the food and beverage industry in Nigeria as the world is combatting the economic disruptions of COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a team of technocrats and business development partners in Nigeria and the U.S. we are focused on industrialisation of cassava into functional food ingredients for the manufacturing of consumer packaged goods in Nigeria.
“Not only Nigeria but for export to regional West African and to North American and European markets as well.
“We want to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his visionary leadership of the Economic Sustainability Plan and support of the National Industrial Plan and the Zero Oil Plan of the FMITI under the leadership of Mr Niyi Adebayo, minister for Industry, Trade and Investments.
“We have worked with the minister, Adebayo, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Nasir Sani Gwarzo and the Director of Industrial Development, staff of the ministry to design the terms of engagement and scope of work under the Industrial Cassava Manufacturing Program of the ministry,” he said.
Bello explained that six private sector partners in Nigeria and the U.S had been engaged to ensure the successful implementation of Project Bolt.
According to him, like Usain Bolt, speed is of essence in the programme implementation; we have completed innovation of new food products such as snacks, crackers, shawarma and pizza crust made from cassava.
“Together we shall tackle the issues of unemployment, create jobs for our youths, women and smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
“We commit to over 750,000 new direct and indirect jobs in the implementation of Project Bolt and we are present in six states and looking to expand to a minimum of 10 States in food manufacturing in Nigeria,” he said.
Bello commended Buhari’s efforts in moving Nigeria forward toward economic diversification through food and agricultural industrialisation.
He said the investors had come to provide technical and business leadership to the food and agribusiness sector through co-investments in manufacturing.
He said the investors would apply global food safety initiatives and export market promotions to drive import substitution and Forex earnings.