By – Taibah Baba Adams
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has commissioned a Shea butter processing plant in Wozibe, a community in Kaiama Local Government Area of the State, in a bid to encourage industrialization in the State.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, the Governor who was represented at the occasion by the Commissioner for Enterprise, Alhaji Abdulwahab Agbaje said it came at the right time when the state is assiduously synergizing with relevant stakeholders in establishing new economic projects as well as resuscitating the moribund industries in the state.
He disclosed that the state is blessed with Shea tree and is ranked the second tree populated state in Nigeria with high economic potentials in Shea butter production.
The project, according to him, is a tripartite arrangement between the World Trade Organization, Nigerian Export Promotion Council and the host state, Kwara.
He explained further that the project is intended at shifting Shea butter processing from the local ways which are cumbersome in nature, unhygienic and time consuming to international standard.
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He also assured that the state government, in conjunction with the stakeholders, has set machinery in motion to create a conducive environment for appointing a resourceful investor to manage the Shea butter facility in Kaiama to enhance the economic development of the state.
Earlier, the Executive Director and Chief Executive of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Segun Awolowo, who was represented by Mr. Afolabi Bello, thanked the Kwara State Government for creating enabling environment and for ensuring the completion of the project which had long been abandoned.
He said the Sheabutter factory project started in October 2012 in the state and completed by the present administration with similar projects executed in Niger and Oyo states respectively.
Mr. Afolabi then highlighted the benefit of this laudable project which includes: Empowerment of Youths and Rural women folks along the Shea Processing Value Chain, to provide Infrastructural Facilities to the hosting community, to accelerate Government presence in the rural community, to improve non-oil export revenue and foreign exchange earnings among others.
In his remarks, the District Head of Wozibe, Alhaji Mohammed Ibn Mohammed thanked the State Government for projecting the potentials of his people to the outside world, adding that the Shea butter factory will further serve as an opportunity to empower the youths and women in Sheabutter production.