In response to Nigeria’s current push for the diversification of her economy, business mogul and former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has disclosed plans to float a 12,000 hectare integrated farm, valued at over $400 million.

The farm, to be located in Abia State, will when fully operational, create jobs for thousands of Nigerians, enhance food security and boost the export potential in the agricultural value chain.

Kalu, who dropped these hints at the weekend when he paid a courtesy visit on the outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Gu Xiaojie, said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Chinese Nexim Bank, as well as Sign Ocean Company of China have been tipped to support the project.

He commended the Chinese envoy for his roles in strengthening the diplomatic ties between China and Nigeria throughout his tenure and expressed optimism that his successor will follow in the same tradition.

According to Kalu, the recent visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to China will usher in positive developments in various sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture, manufacturing and shipping.

“It was good having you here and we hope that other Chinese Ambassadors will work very hard like you. I also hope they will build on the relationship you have established with the government and the people of Nigeria.

I believe that the Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria have a lot to learn from each other. “We are going to have a big poultry and field mills. We are in discussion.

Once we are done with the drawings, we will make an application to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Abia State Government and the Chinese Exim-Bank. We will also apply to Sign Ocean Company so that we can work together on the equipment and support needed for the takeoff of the farm.

“We are hoping this cooperation will be of great importance to Nigeria and China. I do not know the exact net worth of the farm; they are still working on that. But it should be in the neighbourhood of about $400 million. It is going to be a huge farm for exports.

“As you are aware, our company has placed orders for ships worth over $250 million from China companies. We are in discussion with a Chinese company. We have 12,000 hectares of land in Abia State.

The drawings are in progress on how to have a modern farm that will have palm oil farm in 5,000 hectares.We will plant maize in 2,000 hectares and vegetables in 1,000 hectares,” Kalu said.

The outgoing Chinese envoy, Xiaojie, applauded the long standing relationship between China and Nigeria and expressed hope that the political, cultural and economic ties between both countries will be sustained for many more years.

He recalled the recent political transition in Nigeria, describing it as smooth and peaceful, adding that it was in recognition of this feat that the Chinese government invited President Buhari to China where both countries signed several agreements on economic cooperation.

According to Xiaojie, the full implementation of the outcome of that visit will soon commence as key officials of both countries were already putting finishing touches on the modalities for implementation of the various agreements reached during the visit.