January 15, 2004
Israel's Hovev Agriculture To Acquire Nigerian Poultry Farm
The Imo state government has appointed Israeli firm, Hovev Agriculture to take over operations of the Imo Modern Poultry Farm Limited. The Imo Modern Poultry Farm is the largest of its kind in the West African sub-region, was established in 1981.
The project, which was conceived to produce feeds and processed chicken for local consumption and export, never lived up to its billing as a result of a combination of lack of adequate working capital, mismanagement and deliberate plunder, which all culminated in the shut down of the farm just a few years after it was commissioned to commence production.
The Israeli firm through its Nigerian affiliate acquired a 60 per cent equity stake valued at US$10 million in a privatization exercise conducted by the state government last year.
"Following the successful completion of negotiation of final bids for the privatization of the above named enterprise, the board of Imo State Privatization and Investment Bureau in accordance with its mandate announced Hovev Agriculture Nigeria Limited as the Preferred Winner for the Privatization of Imo State Government 60 per cent equity shares at the price of US$10,000,000.00 (10 million US dollars)," said Professor Greg O. Iwu, chairman, board of directors of the bureau in a letter dated December 22, 2003.
Hovev Agriculture would over a period of two years invest a total of US$10,000,000.00 towards the reactivation of the farm. The company is however expected to pay a commitment deposit of N20,000,000.00 within 21 working days of their notification as the preferred bidder after which "the relevant transfer agreement and other requisite documents will be executed alongside a formal handover of the farm" to them.
In choosing Hovev Agriculture Nigeria Limited as the preferred bidder and core investor, the bureau took into consideration the company's plan to apply its total investment of US$10m over a maximum period of two years, its technical partnership with Hovev Agriculture, Israeli, Business Plan, commitment to provide basic amenities beneficial to the host community such as water and electricity; and its undertaking that the reactivation of the farm would commence within one month with actual production beginning within six months of acquisition.
It was gathered that the management of Hovev Agriculture has committed itself towards the provision of basic amenities that would be beneficial to the host community such as water and electricity, outside of the massive employment opportunities that would be availed the host and surrounding community.
All previous effort by successive military administrations and the short lived civilian administration and the short lived civilian administration of Chief Evan Enwerem to revive it were unsuccessful for lack of serious investor to commit resources to reactivate and resuscitate it. The efforts of an indigenous firm - the Marcon Group hit the rocks obviously for lack of financial muscle and technical capacity, said Mr. Mike Nwachukwu, Chief Operating Officer, Hovev Agriculture Nigeria Limited.
"It is a matter of great reckoning that after nearly fifteen years of being moribund, it is taking another visionary leader in the mould of late Chief Mbakwe, the indefatigable Governor of Imo State, Chief Achike Udenwa to attempt a serious turn around of the fortunes of the farm," said Nwachukwu.
"It would appear that this silent achiever, who has made the agricultural reform of Imo State one of the cardinal pillars of his second term, was ordain by divine providence to ensure that the laudable efforts made by Chief Mbadiwe to set the then young Imo State on the throes of industrial and agricultural growth, once again sees the light of the after years of decadence and plunder. Yesterday it was Concorde Hotel. Today it is Imo Modern Poultry Farm.", Nwachukwu added.