Two American-based organisations, First ForsterCare Foundation, a non-governmental agency, and Sotace Global Technologies and Energy Resources, are partnering to establish agro-cells in Nigeria.
According to the partners, the project when fully operational has the potential to generate close to 50 million jobs.
Chief Executive Officer of Sotace Global Technologies, Okey Okafor, and Vice President of First FosterCare Foundation, Angela Moneke, said their plan was to meet or exceed the goals for the Community Social Development Project, which was the Nigerian government’s strategy for poverty reduction.
According to Okafor, “An agro-cell is a node in our overall agro-cell network concept. Each agro-cell is a planned, developed and engineered community based on principles of applied sustainability.
“The agro-cell is a fixed-sized development. Each agro-cell will be designed and equipped for 5,000 people including adults and children,” he added.
On his part, Moneke explained: “the reason for this was to ensure that the assets and services can be designed accordingly.
Of the 5,000, about 10 per cent or 500 would be the professional, technical and skilled service and care providers that will train manage the other residents.
“In addition to housing and jobs, each agro-cell will be a fully-equipped town that contains all of the social resources, assets and livelihoods needed to make vulnerable groups and individuals loved and secure. Our FFCF goal is to make each agro-cell a place that can be called ‘my home’ or ‘my village,” she added.
According to the partnering organisations, Nigeria was the world’s largest producer of cassava, but Malaysia was the largest exporter, adding that with the vision of the two organisations, that would change.
The other key cash crops, they would like to export are yams, groundnuts, cashews, cocoa, coffee, natural rubber, oil palm, palm kernel among others.
According to the organisations, “The entire cassava plant can be exploited by Nigerians to create revenue streams through the export of cassava-based SME Loan Guarantee Scheme (SGS) and SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (SFGs) for the food industry, the glucose industry, composite flours, animal feed, fermented products, and non-food uses.”
“The food industry uses cassava as a cooked starch food, thickener, filler, binder and stabiliser for: bakery products, canned fruits, jams and preserves, confectioneries and commercial caramel. The leaves, high in protein, are detoxified and frozen. The glucose industry uses cassava for starch hydrolysis, glucose syrup, and dextrose. Non-food uses include adhesives, dextrin, making paper and corrugated cardboard, particle board (stalks),” they stated.
They added that their approach to sustainability was modelled to the agro-cell as an industrial ecosystem, which treats all of the energy and material processes as a network that extract resources and then transforms them into commodities that could be bought and sold instead of looking at process wastes and by-products typically handled as refuse or disposal items.
Source: Daily Independent Nigeria