Taraba varsity partners NEDC, World Bank to establish agro industrial park
Prof. Sunday Bako, Vice Chancellor of the university, disclosed this to newsmen in Jalingo on Saturday.
Bako said that the park would also serve as a rehabilitation and training centre for inmates.
According to him, necessary discussions have been made to ensure the reality of the project within the year.
“I wish to inform you that between now and the end of the year, activities will start toward the establishment of the Taraba State University Agro-Industrial Park here in Jalingo.
“Our sponsors, the NEDC and World Bank have shown great interest in the project while our partner is the Nigerian Correctional Centre.
“We are seeking the approval of the state government for the allocation of land which is expected to be 70 hectares and we are optimistic that the governor will graciously oblige.
“The idea is to have an eco-friendly agro park where inmates can spend time learning one form of the agricultural trade or practice while they are serving their jail term, so that by the time they are leaving the prison, they are leaving as trained men and women,” he said.
He said with this they become rehabilitated citizens who could easily be reintegrated into the society productively.
He said: “We notice that rather than serving at correctional centres, it is a mere punishment house that ends up producing more hardened criminals who come out to become worse people in the society due to lack of skills or anything to fall back at.
“We are hoping to pioneer a paradigm shift from that practice such that inmates in the state can learn agro business such as fish, snail, grass cutter, poultry and other livestock farming as well as other agro ventures.
“The idea is that, by the time they have this knowledge and are leaving the centres, their minds will focus more on starting up their own businesses rather than going back to criminality.
“Right now, a ton of hibiscus that we commonly call zobo around here goes for almost two million Naira; very few people are aware of this.
“There are a lot of opportunities in the agric business that we hope to harness and impact the development of the university.
*I doubt if there is any snail farm in the entire northern states, and I don’t know of any grasscutter farm either. Nobody talks about rearing ostriches, despite the fact that they are in exceptionally high demand.
“The university feels there is a need to set up a park that is more than just a farm. It will be a model park that will serve as a training and research facility.
“We are toying with the idea of cattle ranching in the state, and by the time the park is established, people will have a first-hand practical experience of the benefits of ranching.”
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