Sunora Foods has invested $100 million in oil palm plantation in Edo State to boost local production of the commodity.
Charles Eghobamien, president and chief executive officer of the organization made the disclosure at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Edo State Government at the state house in Benin City.
Eghobamien said the company will invest in the cultivation of 15,000 hectares of palm oil plantation in the next five years, facilities for the refining of Soya beans and other Seed oil crops.
Others are edible oil refinery, a bottling line and a 15,000 bottle per hour bottling lines and an animal feeds processing facilities.
He added that the company which will come on stream in January 2024 will provide a minimum of 10,000 and 15,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.
“So, this will be a step in the right direction to bridge the gap in the palm oil refinery particularly in Edo state.
“Apart from the jobs creation there are going to be other development in terms of innovations, technical expertise and also through Corporate Social Responsibility intends to impacts on the communities where we are going to operate in.
“Sunora Foods is an entity trading in oil, vegetable oil to markets across the world including the USA, Canada and China. It is also listed in the Toronto Stock Exchange
“We are going to invest in palm oil plantation to start with. The goal is to sell red palm oil and also refine through the refinery into vegetable oil.
“We are ready to start in January 2024 as soon as we get the land concession and beginning planting.
“Edo state has a lot of palm oil and a lot of plantation. It make sense to have this opportunity to refine the oil to make it available not just for the local market but also for regional and later for the international market as well.
“The advantage there is for our specialty. We understand how to refine oil to meet international standard. That is what we do and we are here to bring this to Edo State.
“Right now, we are attracting foreign direct investment of over $100 million into this venture. So, this will be a step in the right direction to bridge a gap in the palm oil refinery particularly in Edo state”, he said.
He added that one of the major initiatives of the organization was the global expansion, having secured the financing for the expansion.
He said the organisation has two markets which are Indonesia and Africa.
While commending the state government for the Memorandum of Understanding, he noted investment is not only about money but improvement in the livelihood of the people in line with the dreams of the Edo State government.
In his remarks, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State commended the management of Sunora Foods for the initiative to invest in the state agro-based sector.
Obaseki who noted that the state government was supportive of entrepreneur, who wants to undertake meaningful investment in the state particularly in the agro-based businesses, assured the management of enabling environment for the business to thrive.
In an interview, Eribo Itohan Anita, acting managing director of Edo State Skills Development Agency (Edojobs) said the state was linked to the company by the Canadian High Commission.
Eribo noted that the jobs to be created would be beneficial to Edo people.
According to her, at Edojobs, we have a good relationship with the Canadian High Commission. So, through that relationship, we were introduced to Sunora Foods.
“When we got to know the amount that will be put into the project and the number of jobs to be created, we decided to be part of it.
“Edojobs is a job creation agency established by the governor to attend to the needs of the citizens especially in the area of employment promotion. This is one of the ways we are promoting jobs creation.
“This partnership when it comes to fruition, it will attract over 25,000 jobs to our Edo people because of the scope. So, when we saw the magnitude of the project, we brought it to the notice of the Governor who gave his consent,” she added.