90% of Ondo resources untapped – Akeredolu

90% of Ondo resources untapped – Akeredolu
July 24 09:25 2017

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state has called on investors over the world to come to the state to invest in untapped natural resources in the state.

The former chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association lamented that over 90 per cent of natural resources in the state had yet to be exploited for human and economic development.

Akeredolu, while speaking at the first Ondo State Investment Forum in Akure, the state capital, at the weekend, urged investors to collaborate with the government by utilising the abundant resources in the state.

He said the state, with its large population, exhibited tremendous potential for high productivity of both human and material resources.

He also said that the state had already begun the process of establishing Ondo State Employment Trust Fund in a bid to create employment for the jobless youths in the state, noting that the trust fund would be in partnership with the private sector and would employ more than 10,000 youths and women in agribusiness.

“Ondo State is an agrarian economy with over 70 per cent of the population with agriculture being the dominant employer of labour. It is no longer news that Ondo State accounts for over 40 per cent of Nigeria’s annual cocoa output. However, we process less than two per cent of our cocoa output.

“Ondo State is also a major player in other agricultural produce in tree crops such as oil palm, rubber, cashew and kolanut; in arable crops such as cassava, yam, maize, rice, sugarcane; fruit crops such as pineapple, citrus, mango, pepper and tomato are all cultivated in abundance in Ondo state.

“Our special focus is on our comparative advantage in agriculture, which is palm oil and cocoa. We want to develop our palm oil to the extent where we have a self-sustaining palm oil city,” he said.

The governor added that plans were underway to expand the cocoa revolution project started in the state.

On industrial development, Akeredolu said that the state had been granted two Free Trade Zone licences, which are Olokola (being an oil and gas FTZ in partnership with Ogun State Government) and Ondo State Industrial City (as a non-oil and gas FTZ).

“These FTZs have the potential of becoming the gateway to export produce from all over the country. Agricultural produce from the North, agro-allied and industrial products from ancillary industries from the East can easily be exported to regional and international markets from Ondo,” the governor added.