NIGERIA – Sunora Foods, a renowned international vegetable oil trading company, has pledged a substantial investment of US$100 million in an oil palm plantation in Edo State, Nigeria, to enhance local palm oil production.

Charles Eghobamien, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunora Foods, made this announcement during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Edo State Government at the state house in Benin City.

“Sunora Foods is committed to developing a comprehensive agro-industrial complex, which includes the cultivation of 15,000 hectares of palm oil plantation over the next five years,” he said.

“Additionally, the company plans to establish facilities for the refining of soybeans and other seed oil crops, an edible oil refinery, a bottling line, a 15,000-bottle-per-hour bottling line, and an animal feed processing facility.”

Eghobamien further revealed that the company is set to commence operations in January 2024, creating a minimum of 10,000 to 15,000 direct and indirect jobs in Edo State.

He emphasized that this initiative aims to bridge the gap in the palm oil refinery sector, especially in Edo State, and will lead to significant economic and community development.

“Apart from job creation, there will be other developments in terms of innovation, technical expertise, and corporate social responsibility, which will impact the communities where we are going to operate,” he stated.

“Sunora Foods is an entity trading in oil, and vegetable oil to markets across the world, including the USA, Canada, and China. It is also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.”

Eghobamien elaborated on the company’s primary goal, noting that Sunora will invest in palm oil plantations to start with.

“The goal is to sell red palm oil and also refine it through the refinery into vegetable oil. We are ready to start in January 2024 as soon as we get the land concession and begin planting.”

He also emphasized that the investment would attract foreign direct investment of over US$100 million into the project, addressing a critical need in the palm oil refinery sector in Edo State.

Eghobamien highlighted the global expansion plans of Sunora Foods, mentioning that they have secured financing for expansion into two markets, Indonesia and Africa.

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State commended Sunora Foods for its initiative to invest in the state’s agro-based sector.

He assured the company of an enabling environment and government support for the business to thrive, emphasizing that investment is not just about money but also about improving the livelihood of the people in line with the state government’s vision.

Eribo Itohan Anita, the Acting Managing Director of Edo State Skills Development Agency (Edojobs), explained that the state was introduced to Sunora Foods by the Canadian High Commission.

She noted that this partnership would be highly beneficial to the people of Edo State, as it is expected to create over 25,000 jobs due to the project’s significant scope, contributing to the state’s employment promotion initiatives.