In a bid to take full advantage of the federal government’s resolution to place focus on agriculture, a new Nigerian startup, Integrated Produce City Ltd, is in a bid of developing commodities exchange.
Set up by Pat Utomi, a celebrated entrepreneur and business professor; the exchange will be located near Benin, Edo state, just about 300Km east of Lagos, making it accessible to farmers of cassava, palm oil, cocoa and rubber.
Utomi, who serves as the exchange’s Chief Executive Officer, said of the importance of the new initiative, “The concept of a wholesale-produce market is to enable the farmer to fully dispose of his produce, instead of today where he loses 80 percent of his output that rots before it can reach the market”.
According to reports, the exchange will cost up to $135 million to begin running, with 20% of the money already gathered while the company is meeting with potential investors from Asia, South Africa and Australia for further capital.
It has enlisted the help of KPMG Nigeria in the fundraising process, following a signed agreement on Monday.
Projected to begin functioning at the end of 2018, the $135 million Integrated Produce City will cover processing plants and refrigerating plants.
The exchange’s spokesperson, Vitus Akudinobi said that local manufacturing companies will be able to buy goods at the site, listing the market target as growers of vegetables, fresh fruit, grains, tubers, rubber, cashew nut and most importantly, chocolate.
Integrated City Produce Ltd intends to eventually expand into six southern states of the federation.