WestOne on Tuesday disclosed plans to site a €15m Cassava starch processing and packaging plant in Akure, Ondo State, Southwestern Nigeria.
They intend to partner with Hungarian Ostertrade Engineering & Manufacturing KFT on the project said Managing Director/CEO of Westone, Sunday Falae in a presentation during a meeting facilitated by NIPC’s Southwest zonal office with the Ondo State government’s investment promotion agency, ONDIPA, on behalf of Westone.
“WestOne will engage in backward integration, hence we also plan to acquire 2,500 hectares of land, in Ondo, for the cultivation of high starch yielding Cassava.”
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava globally accounting for 20% of global production, though 98% of the cassava currently produced in the country is converted to low-value food-grade products for domestic consumption, an opportunity that Westone intends to take advantage of.
“The demand for Cassava Starch has grown exponentially over time due to an upsurge in the number of industries requiring the product as raw material in their production both in the domestic and international market,” Falae said.
“This has compelled us at WestOne to commit a substantial part of our resources in the production of Cassava Starch in Nigeria with an eye for the West African market in the nearest future.”
The cassava-growing belt in Nigeria falls mainly within 3 agro-ecological zones in the Southeast, Southwest (the location of Ondo State) and the Central areas. And Ondo State is considered one of the largest producers of cassava in the country.
WestOne’s decision to cite this investment in Ondo will not be unconnected to the geographical advantages that the State offers and a commitment to economic development in the region; and of course, the State government’s support to the project, and the attractive fiscal and monetary incentives for investors in the food manufacturing sector.