The Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has assured West African Cotton Company Limited (WACOT), Rice limited and investors wishing to invest in Kebbi State of the readiness of his administration, to offer positive support for their establishments in the state.
” It is important for investors to know that they will be supported by the state government to generate services .
‘ We believe that Kebbi is a good place for them, because of the value addition and the support they give to the economy,” he averred.
Senator Atiku Bagudu made the remarks at the factory’s premises on Wednesday, during the launch of the Co-Investment Partnership between USAID and Wacot limited, performed by the American Ambassador to Nigeria, Madam Mary Beth Leonard.
The Governor said that, the operations of the factory in the community they operate in Argungu and by extension in Kebbi State was satisfactory.
He expressed happiness about the immense contributions of Wacot to the economic growth Kebbi State, describing it as commensurate with the expectations of the shareholders.
The Governor , in his position as the Chief Host, welcomed the American Ambassador and her entourage, describing the launch of the Co-Investment partnership between USAID and Wacot as timely, highly desirable and mutually beneficial
‘ Iam not surprised when they have been recognised by USAID as partners, we are very very proud of the company, because they are concious of their responsibility, to shareholders, environment and their respect for the community, ” he said.
In her remarks at the launch of Co-investment partnership between USAID and Wacot limited, the American Ambassador, Madam Mary Beth Leonard said that, the partnership was the first of the seven co- investment agreements initiated to harness the power of the private sector and would improve agricultural production in Nigeria.
According to her, the trade Hub’s grant of $1.5 million dollars will directly support its Argungu Rice Outgrower Expansion Project, allowing WACOT to onboard 5,100 rice farmers, half of which would be women into its program.
She explained that, the program is designed to improve the livelihoods of smallholders farmers, lift them out of poverty and respond to food security concerns raised due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership, she averred, would also create 8000 new jobs in the next few years and hoped that, the agreement would open more doors for more partnership in the future.
The Chairman of Wacot Rice limited, Alhaji Faruk Gumel, while thanking the US Ambassador, Madam Mary Beth Leonard, the Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the entire guests for gracing the occasion to be part of history for the launch of Co-Investment Partnership between USAID and Wacot Rice limited, was full of praises for both the US Ambassador and Bagudu.
He narrated how the rice Mill started from scratch in 2015, to stardom in 2017, when the company started its operation and the initial challenges it had encountered, as well as successfully surmounted .
According to him, the company was established in Argungu, Kebbi State because of the abundant potentials of the place.
He said that over 2,000 jobs have been created by the company due to the partnership with USAID.
He stressed that, the expansion of the company has given opportunities for more farmers to cultivate more land for rice production.
According to Gumel, “when the company was established in 2017, we hardly sold our product for three months, because customers were always demanding for foreign rice.
“But today, we are selling Nigerian rice unstoppable, and people continue to ask for it. Everybody wants to become our agent and marketer.”
Earlier on his part, Deputy Chief of Party for USAID’s West Africa Trade and Investment Hub project, Mr Karl LittleJohn , said that Wacot
will create 60,000 jobs across Nigeria and West Africa through its partnership with the USAID on the rice outgrower expansion project.
He said: “The core objective of establishing WACOT in Argungu and the launching of this partnership today is to create catalyst for investments and provide grants to more farmers.”
LittleJohn explained that, the jobs created would be available across Nigeria and West Africa.
“We want to show that we can create jobs. And we want to also increase trade investment with our partners across West Africa countries,” he added.
Special Adviser (SA) Media to Kebbi State Governor