Former deputy Speaker, House of Representatives and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC Honourable Saidu Babangida Nguroje , yesterday said the Mambila Power project located in Taraba state is one sure way of boosting agriculture and job creation, if completed.
The APC stalwart also stated that the Mambila hydro electricity project with the capacity to generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity would be act as a major boost to efforts of the current administration to diversify the nation’s economy from oil to agriculture, particularly in the area of tea production, which according to him could create over 150,000 jobs for a start and generate a minimum of N5billion for the country annually.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP Newspapers, Nguroje who commended efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in ensuring that the Mambila Power project is completed, following his recent meeting with the Mr Li Keqiang, the Premier of the state Council of the Peoples Republic of China as a follow up to an earlier meeting with the management of the China construction giant China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Limited, CCECC in Nigeria last year, stated that Mambila plateau soil is amongst the world’s best soil for tea production and must not be allowed to be wasted, if diversifying the nation’s economy is the way to rescue the nation’s economy.
According to him, “the issue of completion of the Mambila Hydro power project is long overdue, but I think this is the right time to get it right now that government have focused attention on diversifying our economy , because the potentials are unimaginable.
“These opportunities go beyound Taraba state and even Nigeria alone, because if we generate additional 4,000 megawatts, we can service neighbouring states like Cameroon and make money for our economy, if there is power businesses would thrive and reduce over dependence on government or white collar jobs, there would be irrigation farming where so many Nigerians will be take off the streets and engaged in farming activities”.
He continued, “Mambila Plateau with height altitude of 200 feet above sea level have over 50,000 hectares of land for tea production alone and a hectare of land alone can give you between 2,500 to 3,500 kilogram green leaves which translates to about 625 to 100 kilogram of made tea under normal and good plantation as well as manufacturing process”.
The APC chieftain expressed concerns that out of the over 50,000 hectares for the production of tea, only about 1,930 hectares are being put to use by both government, private companies as well as small –scale tea farmers.
He maintained that countries like China, India, Kenya and Sri Lanka have used the tea production aspect of agriculture to boost their economies, “therefore, we have the land, the soil texture is good enough and all we need is to open up the place and once that is done, the economy will be better for it, jobs would be created and the rest would be history, the President have demonstrated desire to tap into this opportunities and I commend him”, said Nguroje.