Business Hilights
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Utomi explains floating of $135m commodities exchange firm

Leading professor of political economy, former presidential aspirant and public affairs analyst, Prof Pat Utomi has floated Integrated Produce City Limited (IPCL), an agricultural commodities exchange firm in Nigeria. An indication to the establishment of the group had earlier been given by him several months ago in an interview in Lagos

According to him, the brain behind the new idea is to take advantage of the government’s efforts to boost farming output to reduce reliance on oil.

In an interview on Tuesday in Abuja, he hinted that the $135m (about N4.9bn) agro produce will be located near Benin, the Edo State capital, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) east of Lagos.

The choice of location is driven by resource base as the region is known for accessibility to growers of cocoa, palm oil, rubber and cassava.

In his submission, the Delta State born tactician revealed that “The concept of a wholesale-produce market is to enable the farmer to fully dispose of his produce, instead of today where he loses 80 per cent of his output” that rots before it can reach the market”, Utomi told Bloomberg.

Business Hilights recalls that the federal government had since coming to power, been driving awareness for both Nigerians and foreign investors to avail themselves the enabling environment provided by Nigeria’s natural resources in agriculture to deepen investment in farming.

Nigeria is boosting investment in agriculture to increase exports and cut food imports that cost it $3.2bn in 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The country has been hit hard by lower output and prices of crude, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of foreign income and two thirds of government revenue.

The founder and core investor, Prof Utomi also hinted that IPLC will have storage facilities, including refrigerated warehouses, and host processing plants on its 100-hectare (247-acre) site in Edo State’s Ugbokun village when it starts operating by the end of 2018.