by on April 16, 2019 Read Time: 3 minutes, 18 seconds

As part of efforts to create job opportunities for its youths and eradicate poverty within the community while contributing its quota to the development, Lanlate community in Ibarapa zone of Oyo State has donated 300,000 hectares to Italian investors.

The 300,000 hectares donated by the Lanlate community is to house a tomato processing factory that would specialise in cultivation, processing and export of tomatoes, tomatoes paste, juice, ketchup, among other tomato-based products.

The factory is being powered by a group of foreign investors from Italy who are investing the sum of N544 million into the Oyo State economy for the purpose of tomato production.

To kick-start its operation, the investors, led by the representative of Fenco food Machinery in Africa, Mr Paolo De Sciscilo, met with the traditional ruler of Lanlate town, Oba Abdul Lateef Olagoke, to deliberate on ways to ensure that the natives benefit from the operation and get support from the people

Oba Olagoke, who expressed delight over the prospect of the project and its effect on the people in the community stated that it will indeed be of long-term benefits to the socioeconomic activities of the town and the state in general and called on the investors not to turn the youths of the state to slaves in the factory.

He further called on the incoming administration in the state led by the governor-elect, Seyi Makinde, to implement strategic policies that would stimulate agribusiness which he said will help attract investments into the state with a view to turning around the fortunes of the state.

De Sciscilo while enumerating what the project will look like stated that the tomato factory would also contain facilities such as healthcare centres, housing for workers, schools and other associated services, adding that the investment would create an estimated 2000 jobs for the people of the state in particular and the Nigerian unemployed population in general.

The demand for tomato-based products is increasing as consumers continue to learn the health and nutritive values that tomatoes offer. This is a multimillion dollar investment, which will shortly commence as soon all paper work is completed. We hope to increase the local production of fresh tomatoes and tomato products including juice, paste and puree, De Sciscilo stated.

In his remarks, Mr Adekunle Alliu, the Executive Director of the United States-Africa Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture Incorporation, said the project would contribute to efforts to promote industrialisation and job creation in the state.

Also expressing his thoughts, the chairman of the Lanlate Local Council Development Area, Mr. Yunus Olanrewaju, said the project would address the storage and loss problems faced by tomato farmers annually and boost the financial strength of individual farmers.

We are glad that Lanlate is found worthy of such a project. We are excited and I can assure you that our people are accommodating; there will be no issue of security in this area, no violence or disruption of peace and economic activities, this is a relatively peaceful environment, he said.

Heb further assured the investors that their investment is guaranteed and the community would give them maximum support in every way possible.

Also speaking during the meeting with the Lanlate traditional council, the facilitator and Manager of United States-Africa Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture incorporation, Mr. Femi Odofin, said that the project would boost the economy of the town, create employment opportunities for the youth and improve the socioeconomic life of the people.

Though I am acting as the facilitator of the project, Im not doing so as an indigene of Lanlate but because of the potential of the town, especially the land mass which I believe will not only accommodate the project, but also serve as a boost to our economy and be a veritable source of employment opportunities to our unemployed graduates and other categories of people, he said.