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NIGERIA:AGRICULTURE NEWS and DEVELOPMENT

I feel since Agriculture still makes up 40% of the country GDP. . .we should devote a thread specifically to Agriculture and agro-allied business in Nigeria

I hope Hakon makes this a sticky. . . .also feel free to post news and developments on other issues that affect Agriculture,such as dams,water resources,Agric financing and so on. .
 

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NIGERIA :AGRICULTURE NEWS AND DEVELOPMENT

Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc. .COCOA PROCESSORS/EXPORTERS


Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc (“Multi-Trex” or “The Company”) is a public limited liability company incorporated in Nigeria on 30th November 1999. Multi-Trex started business as a private cocoa merchant; buying cocoa beans from a select group of local suppliers for export to customers mainly in Europe.

In 2003, the company took advantage of the Nigerian government’s policies on non-oil export to expand its business operation by going into processing of cocoa beans into semi-finished industrial products i.e. Cocoa Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Cake and Cocoa Powder.

To achieve its objectives, the company exclusively hired the production facility of Nigeria’s first cocoa processing plant for a period of two (2) years.Following the success of its manufacturing operation, the company resolved to build its own first cocoa processing factory with an annual capacity of 10,000 metric tonnes (MT). Working with top-rated technical experts and cocoa processing equipment manufacturers from Europe, the company’s factory was completed in 2005 and commissioned on February 1st, 2006 by the then President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR. The factory has since been upgraded to 15,000 MT annually.

The company also went on to construct an ultra-modern cocoa cake grinding plant, designed to pulverise 8,000 MT of Cocoa Cake into Cocoa Powder annually.The company completed a large-scale expansion project in late 2009, with the construction of a brand new 50,000 MT capacity factory with state-of-the-art cocoa processing equipment. In addition, the first cocoa plant is being further upgraded to increase its annual capacity to 30,000 MT before the end of the year. With an installed cocoa processing capacity of 80,000 MT, Multi-Trex is the most modern and biggest cocoa processing facility in Nigeria.

The company has successfully revolutionised the industry since entering the cocoa processing business and is committed to ensuring customers receive the best possible quality cocoa products. Multi-Trex prides itself in establishing a strict quality management system in line with leading Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. At Multi-Trex, we believe that our people are our greatest source of competitive advantage.

We are therefore very particular about the quality of people we hire and the relevance of their work experience. Our organisation is made up of a good number of Nigerians with extensive experience in cocoa processing and trading.Our passion for excellence, strict adherence to high quality standards and membership of renowned cocoa associations (World Cocoa Foundation, Cocoa Producers Alliance, Cocoa Processors Association of Nigeria, etc.) have ensured continued patronage of our products in both local and International markets

FUTURE PLAN

The company plans to utilise cocoa powder output from its grinding plant to produce cocoa-based consumer products such as chocolate drinks, chocolate dry mix and chocolate bars. It is expected that the company’s manufacturing facilities to support the production of these new products will be on stream later this year.One of our goals is to be the champion of local consumption of cocoa-based fast- moving consumer goods (FMCG) in Nigeria.

As early as 1999, we established a sizeable cocoa plantation, which today serves as a crucial source of high quality seedling for supply to farmers to boost production. Furthermore, Multi-Trex has developed key initiatives geared towards further boosting production of high quality cocoa beans in Nigeria. These initiatives are being implemented in collaboration with relevant Government agencies and international organisations such as World Cocoa Foundation, USAID-MARKETS, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, etc.

Expansion of existing markets is an integral part of the company’s future plans. Multi-Trex has successfully established a subsidiary in Zambia to facilitate sale of cocoa-based products in the South African region

The Incredible Story Of Multi-Trex
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Last Thursday, December 3rd, I witnessed the official commissioning of a gleaming purpose built cocoa-processing and manufacturing factory of Multi-trex Integrated Foods Plc situated on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by a village called Warewa in the Ogun State border of the stretch, but within eye-view of the bursting Lagos conurbation.

Why I am writing about it today is because what I witnessed is something that should make any Nigerian proud. In corporate figuration, the spectacle, no, the miracle of it is akin to the wonder of Obama becoming the President of America, and, in effect, of the world! I am not exaggerating. It is the manifestation of the “Audacity of Hope”, the Yes,-We-Can spirit.
Indeed, I don’t know where to start.

But let me start from the end. The spectacle of the factory, a huge edifice rising like the Sphinx and visible a kilometre away either direction of the Expressway, lies as much in the speed of its completion as in the capacity. Capable of processing 50,000 tons of cocoa a year, it (together with its now dwarfed forebear peering beside it with a capacity for another 15,000 tons) becomes easily one of the largest, if not the largest cocoa-processing factory in Africa! And that is counting the big names in the industry in Nigeria.

With current employee strength of about 1,000, planned to increase twofold in the next year, Multi-trex becomes a leading employer of labour and a significant contributor to the economy of the country.

The estimated asset worth of the Multi-trex complex is over N10 billion, most of it in state-of-the-art machinery bought through multi-layered financing arrangements initially begun with NEXIM (Nigeria’s export promotion bank) but spearheaded and hugely borne by Skye Bank, and supported by some foreign backers of the young entrepreneur, Mr. Dimeji Owofemi.

CONTINUE READING. . http://multi-trexplc.com/home/index.php/news/68-the-incredible-story-of-multi-trex

New 50,000MT Factory Commissioning

On Dec 3 2009, Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc opened its doors to important dignitaries from virtually every corner of the globe. The ultra modern factory 50,000 metric ton factory was commissioned by The Executive Governor of Ogun State His Excellency Otunba Gbenga Daniel jointly supported by His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar III The Sultan of Sokoto and the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E. A. Adeboye.
Several dignitaries including captains of industries, traditional rulers foreign partners also attended the event.



Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc is one of the largest and most modern cocoa processing companies in Nigeria. Its installed annual processing capacity, at commissioning in 2005, was 10,000MT, which has since been upgraded to 15,000MT to-date. The proceeds of its N6billion Private Placement, concluded mid 2008, are currently being deployed to the acquisition and installation of additional plants, machineries and equipment aimed at further upgrading its current processing capacity from 15,000MT to 30.000MT per annum.

The new installation of a second factory, with a 50,000MT installed capacity, is expected to raise total installed capacity to 80,000 MT. This feat will rank the Multi-trex plant as the biggest and certainly the most modern cocoa processing factory in Africa .
The upgrade is expected to be completed at the end of the 1st quarter of 2010.

The company’s current export turnover is in excess of $15million. This is expected to improve tremendously at the completion of the ongoing upgrading exercise. The company is located in Warewa village, Ogun state of Nigeria, along the strategic Lagos/Ibadan express road, which affords it an easy access to the sources of its cocoa beans needs as well as to the sea ports.

NEXIM’s support to Multi-Trex is through the acquisition of its two processing plants and the provision of Stocking Facility under its Direct Lending Facility to the tune of N1.1billion as well as various inter-bank Rediscounting and Refinancing Facilities

Multi-Trex was incorporated as a limited liability company on November 30, 1999 setting up a 50 hectare cocoa plantation and commenced commercial operations in September 2001 as a cocoa beans trader both for the Nigerian and international markets.

In 2008, after two years of successful operation and sensing the need for more funds to expand its processing capacity, in order to fully satisfy its international buyers, the company went public through the floating of 2billion ordinary shares of its equity to private investors to raise N6billion for the acquisition of more plants and machineries.
The floatation was highly successful.


Multi-Trex is managed by a highly experienced board of directors and a dedicated, well focused and result oriented management team who, between them, has a cumulative experience spanning more than 75 years in cocoa and allied industries.
Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc’s corporate goal is to exemplify as a leader in the Cocoa based Foods and Beverages industry through absolute commitment to its various stake holders which include employees, customers, financiers and suppliers as well as its shareholders, government and its host communities.

FACTORY TOUR

Cocoa Beans

Micronizer

Winnower

Roaster

Fine Mill


Chocolate and Dry Mix Processing Plants Commissioning

The president of Federal Republic of Nigeria
President Jonathan Ebele Goodluck, GCFR
will be at our new factory for the commissioning of our newly installed ultra-modern Chocolate and Dry Mix automated plant.
Several other dignitaries from Nigeria and other countries all over the world will also join us to celebrate.
Thank you as you celebrate with us on the 29th of October 2010.

http://multi-trexplc.com/home/index.php/news/73-chocolate-and-dry-mix-processing-plants-commissioning

God bless.
 

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NSE Approves Multitrex Plc Listing By Introduction

The Council of The Nigerian Stock Exchange through its Quotation Committee approved the Multitrex Plc listing by Introduction of 3.72 billion ordinary shares of 50kobo each at N3.00 per share.

The shares are scheduled for listing on Monday November 01, 2010.
 

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GBOT and the Association of Nigerian Exporters have signed a strategic alliance


November 01, 2010

The Global Board of Trade Partners and the Association of Nigerian Exporters have signed a strategic alliance intended to equip exporters and traders from Nigeria to trade currency and commodity derivatives on the GBOT platform. Joining us now from Abuja in Nigeria on how this partnership will benefit local exporters is Prince Joseph Idiong, CEO of Association of Nigerian Exporters
 

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Nigeria’s agriculture, solid mineral sector excite foreign investors
MONDAY, 16 MAY 2011 00:00 ONYINYE NWACHUKWU, ABUJA

Nigeria may witness an investment boom in the agriculture and solid mineral sectors soon if the level of enthusiasm shown so far by foreign investors and development partners in both sectors yield anticipated results. “Their interest is buoyed by the recent successful general elections held in the country, as well as government’s efforts to fix infrastructure, particularly power,” said Roberts Orya, managing director of the Nigerian Export Import (NEXIM) Bank.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), for instance, has accepted to extend up to $200 million line of credit to Nigeria to set up an ECOWAS company, an initiative being championed by NEXIM Bank. The modalities of the credit are still being worked out, BusinessDay learnt.

Orya said his team had been discussing investment deals with some foreign investors and strategic partners to attract investments and capital into the non-oil sector. He added that the level of response at the just-concluded World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town was overwhelming.

“People are quite happy with the free and fair elections we just had, which has pushed the rating of the country up. We have been able to sell to investors the investment incentives including the radical reforms in power infrastructure. These are areas that excite potential investors and a lot of people are interested in coming in,” Orya said in an interview with BusinessDay.

The ECOWAS company would help deepen trade, especially in the West African sub-region, which would boost Nigerian exports. The NEXIM Bank MD said some consultants are already working on the project to ensure it takes off soon.

The efforts, he noted, are in line with their vision of becoming the leading Export Development Bank by 2015; and most importantly, being in a position to adequately support the exporters and boost jobs in the country.

“We are deepening trade within the sub-region. We have been trying to see how we can overcome deficiencies in sea transportation. For you to move goods from one member state of the ECOWAS sub-region to the other is a major challenge. For instance, to move goods from here to any port in Ghana, will take you a minimum of 60 days. Under that kind of scenario, you cannot deepen trade. NEXIM has commissioned consultants to carry out a study so that we can set up an ECOWAS company.

“We want to set up that company and get it listed on the viable stock exchanges within the ECOWAS sub-region. We even plan to extend this to the Central African states with time because we seem to have some kind of gaps there too.


“We are excited that the response so far has been very amazing. the private sector organisations, government agencies within the ECOWAS sub-region are waiting for that vehicle to be incorporated so that they can invest. We are only facilitating the process. We have also discussed with the African Export Import Bank (AFREXIM) and they are excited about the initiative. Even some South African entrepreneurs are so interested and if they can come in, that will be good,” he said.
 

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‘Nigeria Can Save N315bn Annually Using 50% Cassava Flour’
This Day Live

The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akin Adesina, has revealed Nigeria would save about N315 billion annually, using the 50 per cent cassava flour inclusion in wheat flour for the baking of bread and other confectioneries.


The minister said Nigeria, being Africa’s and the world’s largest producer of cassava, currently imports wheat worth N635 billion (about $4.2bn) annually, hurting its foreign exchange earnings and worsening the rate of unemployment.
He said this during the launch of the Cassava Transformation Agenda at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan.

Under the new transformation agenda, Nigeria plans to double its current cassava production from 37 million tonnes. The critical areas the government is focusing on are value addition to make production demand driven and the improvement of yield among others,” he said.

IITA Director General, Mr. Nteranya Sanginga, in an address to Nigeria’s Cassava Transformation team, said the inclusion of cassava flour in bread was a sure way of stimulating the demand for cassava.

It grows well in poor soils with limited labour requirements. It also provides food security during conflicts when the invader cannot easily destroy or remove the crop, since it conveniently grows underground. Cassava is usually intercropped with vegetables, plantation crops (such as coconut, oil palm, and coffee), yam, sweet potato, melon, maize, rice, groundnut, or other legumes,” he added.

He said apart from food, “cassava is very versatile and its derivatives and starch are applicable in many types of products such as foods, confectionery, sweeteners, glues, plywood, textiles, paper, biodegradable products, monosodium glutamate, and drugs. Cassava chips and pellets are used in animal feed and alcohol production”.
 

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Africa's richest man wants continent to reap what he sows

Published on 20 September 2011 - 3:07am

Africa's richest man wants his continent to grow -- and some say his project to build its largest fertiliser plant could provide relief to farmers and help put a dent in food shortages.

The project, set to come on stream in three years, may also serve as an example of how Nigeria, the continent's largest oil producer with massive untapped gas reserves, can put its often-squandered natural resources to good use.

Of course, Nigeria-based Dangote Group, headed by Aliko Dangote, once dubbed Africa's richest man by Forbes, could stand to rake in yet another small fortune along the way.

The company has set out plans for the plant to be located in the south of Nigeria in Edo state. It is to be constructed by Italian firm Saipem,
though the cost of the project was not made public.

It would employ some 7,000 people, directly and indirectly, according to Dangote, and eventually allow Nigeria to stop importing fertiliser and use its wealth of natural gas reserves as part of the manufacturing process.

The plant would also produce enough to export, the company says while describing the plant as the biggest in Africa.

"There is no reason why Nigeria should be importing fertiliser," Aliko Dangote said in a statement.

"I am happy that with this agreement, by the time our plant is completed and commissioned, the country will become self-sufficient in fertiliser production and even have the capacity to export the products to other African countries."


The Nigerian programme officer for the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a UN agency, welcomed the plan.

"Whatever happens here will have a multiplier effect on the rest of Africa," said Benjamin Odoemena.

"Once there is food sufficiency in Nigeria, other African countries, including the famine-ravaged Horn of Africa, will benefit."

Of course, there are sure to be sceptics. Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, has had a long list of highly ambitious projects that were either torpedoed by corruption or simply went nowhere.

Whether a similar fate will befall the Dangote plan remains to be seen, but the tycoon certainly has a history of successes to make his case, with his company already strong in areas including cement, flour, sugar and food production.

When operational in 2014, the plant will produce 7,700 metric tonnes per day of granulated urea, consisting of two trains with a production capacity of 3,850 metric tonnes each per day, they said.

Agriculture has long been neglected in Nigeria, with the oil industry providing some two-thirds of government revenue and more than 90 percent of export earnings.

But the oil industry provides few local jobs, while it has been estimated that agriculture employs about 70 percent of the workforce. Most are subsistence farmers.

"It will boost agricultural production in the country and tremendously increase the yields of farmers since more fertilisers will be available to them," said Ahmed Rabiu Kwa, executive secretary of the Fertiliser Suppliers Association of Nigeria, an umbrella body of 27 manufacturers and suppliers.

The president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Olufemi Deru, however argued that farmers would benefit more if there was a comprehensive policy on agriculture in the country.

"What Nigeria needs at the moment is an agricultural policy that will make the sector the mainstay of the economy," Deru said.
© ANP/AFP
 

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Does Dangote have any plans to go DIRECTLY into agriculture- i mean a plantation or something. It would be a great role model for the other rich people to follow.
 

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Nigeria's Approach to Agricultural Transformation


Nov 30, 2011

FBN Capital, the investment banking and asset management business of Nigeria's First Bank, is hosting an investor conference in Lagos, Nigeria, with the theme "From BRICS to BRINCS, a real conversation". The event brings together investors, market operators, and regulators in Nigeria's capital market and the broader economy. ABN's Wole Famurewa caught up with Kola Masha, Technical Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and asked him about Nigeria's approach to agricultural transformation.
 

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Does Dangote have any plans to go DIRECTLY into agriculture- i mean a plantation or something. It would be a great role model for the other rich people to follow.
Who knows...but Dangote...has said that one of his number one business ideals is sticking to what he knows.....and doing that best...rather than venturing into no mans land. Although he is big in Commodities...which are linked to Agric...I am not so sure if he would want to invest directly.
 

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Local production of cashew nuts to hit 400,000 tonnes
Vanguard

NIGERIAN cashew nuts will soon increase to 400,000 tonnes from the current 10,000 tonnes per annum.

This boost is coming on the heel of a tripartite partnership between the Bank of Industry (BOI), the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC).
This was made known during the courtesy visit of the Executive of African Cashew Alliance (ACA) to the BOI in Lagos.

According to the President, ACA, Mr. Idrissi Kilangi, at the moment, Cote d’Ivoire has the highest production volume in Africa, with 350,000 tonnes per annum, adding: “With all the potentials, Nigeria can produce 400,000 tonnes every year."

He said that ACA in partnership with BOI will work together to ensure that the country meet the record.


Meanwhile, Nigeria is the 6th largest producer of cashew in the world after India, Brazil, Vietnam, Guinea Bissau and Tanzania.
Like most African producers, most of Nigeria’s production are exported in raw form to India and Vietnam for processing and export with added value and benefits to those economies. Vietnam, for example entered the field of cashew production for export in the early 80’s about the same time Nigerians became aware of the commercial significance of cashew.
Who knows...but Dangote...has said that one of his number one business ideals is sticking to what he knows.....and doing that best...rather than venturing into no mans land. Although he is big in Commodities...which are linked to Agric...I am not so sure if he would want to invest directly.
I swear he announced that he was interested in investing up to N900 bn in agriculture in the next year...I wouldn't see why he wouldn't invest in the sector. He's already planning a fertilizer plant so who knows what will be his next venture after that?:dunno:
 

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These rich people need to start investing directly into agriculture. Once they start doing it, it will change the image of farming as a poor persons job which is worryingly prevalent in SSA. White SSAs understand this already- Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, SA, Namibia etc etc
 

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Banks to Finance Agric With N30 Billion in 2012
allAfrica

Banks in the country have resolved to inject over N30 billion to finance agricultural activities in 2012, the chairman of the Bankers' Committee has said.

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, who is also the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect was signed on November 29.

He said it is part of the new focus of banks to play significant role in the real sector of Nigeria's economy with bias on agriculture which is the biggest contributor to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Aig-Imoukhuede said this at the workshop on 'financing agricultural input supply scheme - 2012 farming season' that awareness on the scheme has begun.


He said bankers, farmers and other stakeholders in the finance and agriculture sectors are been sensitized on the method and mechanism for the disbursement of the N30 billion.


According to him, the decision to undertake the sensitization and enlightenment programme was borne out of an agreement by the banks prior to the signing of the MoU.

He said the financing mechanism will be on a single digit interest rate to provide the much needed financing support to agricultural input dealers to ensure immediate supplies of essential inputs to farmers across the nation for the 2012 farming season.

He said under the MoU, the banks/financiers shall provide a total loan facility of up to N22.689 billion for financing fertilizer and N2.752 billion for seeds procurement and distribution respectively, while the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance shall guarantee 70 per cent of the loan principal payment under the scheme.
 

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Association projects N200b yearly revenue from processed cashew nuts
The Guardian

A CAMPAIGN for the unlocking of Nigeria’s potential in processed cashew nuts may have begun, with stakeholders, in Lagos, yesterday, canvassing strategic value-addition programme for the commodity.


For effect, the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) has called on the Federal Government to initiate cashew nuts processing scheme in the country, which could raise the revenue of N25 billion being earned from raw cashew nut export to N200 billion, when processed.


He said the situation where the country only sold raw cashew nuts and kernel out of the 99 by-products derivable from the commodity, called for concern.

Faseru therefore stressed the need for partnership with the state governments and other stakeholders with a view to increasing Nigeria’s economic growth through the contribution of the commodity.

For the production and processing of raw nuts, we want the state governments to partner with stakeholders to put up more processing plants,” he said.

He noted that improved value-addition capacity would raise Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.

He appealed to banks to show more interest in the sector by assisting farmers with credit facilities to boost production and develop the country’s potential of becoming the leading exporter of cashew products in Africa.

Faseru also appealed to the federal and state governments to extend agricultural loans to cashew farmers to enable them expand their farms and replace aged cashew trees.

‘Nigeria earns N76b from fruit juice production, consumes 468.5m litres yearly’

The Guardian

THE Federal Government’s decision to ban the importation of fruit juices into the country, may have yielded positive results, as the country now earns over N76 billion yearly from local production of the various brands in the sub-sector.

The production profile may have also buffeted by favourable market situation, as consumption hits over 468.5 million litres of fruit juice so far this year alone. This development is however based on a yearly consumption increase of 10 per cent since 2002. Consumers in the country gulped 200 million litres in 2002 and 320 million litres in 2007.

The ban on importation of ready-to-drink fruit juices in 2002 and lowering of tariff to five per cent on imported fruit juice concentrates also increase the demand for fruit concentrates from 1.5 million kilograms to 30 million Kilograms between 2002 and 2007.

According to her, the fruit juice industry picked up a little over a decade ago with the introduction of packaged brands of juices in attractive cardboards, which were promoted as healthy drinks, as well as phenomenal growth in eateries/restaurants and other outlets for fruit juices in Nigeria.

She explained: “In recognition of the country’s potentials in fruit and fruit juice production, processing and utilisation, government placed a ban on the importation of fruit juice in retail packages. The effect of this policy has been dramatic. It led to the emergence of many fruit producers and fruit juice processing companies in the country."

She recalled: “In 2002, Coca-Cola Nig. Plc invested over $200 million on its local plant producing 5Alive brand of fruit juice. In 2006, Dangote Group established Dansa Food Limited to produce Dansa brand of fruit juice. Also in 2006, SCOA invested about $8.5 million in fruit juice production to produce Tropic’ ice brand of fruit juice. PZ Cusson Plc partnered with Nutricima for the purpose of producing fruit juice.

Even-though most of the companies utilise fruit concentrates, the prospect for the Industry is high due to availability of various types of fruits in commercial quantities in Nigeria. Major fruits in Nigeria are orange, mango, cashew, tomato, pineapple and banana, guava, watermelon and pawpaw”.
 

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Distribution of subsidised fertilisers to stop, says minister
The Guardian

THE Federal Government may have decided to stop further procurement and distribution of subsidised fertilisers by government agencies in a determined move to eliminate inherent corruption in the system.

The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who disclosed this in Oke-lla, Osun State, noted that purchasing and distributing of the essential farming input had engendered deep-rooted corruption and deprived authentic farmers from getting the product.


Adesina, who was a guest speaker at a lecture entitled, “Reviving the Rural Economy Through Agricultural Transformation in Nigeria,” organised to mark the fifth coronation anniversary of the Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, Aroyinkeye 1,said the government took the measure to save the farming population who had always been prevented from accessing the critical farming input by a cartel.

He said it was absurd that the country spends a whopping N1.3 trillion for the importation of food yearly, saying that the current administration had resolved to check the ugly trend by providing incentives to local farmers to enhance production of food and ensure national food security.

The Minister lamented that most fertilisers procured by the government often found their way to the neigbouring countries to the detriment of farmers, saying that corruption in the system had frustrated the good
 

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Govt, farmers set for massive food production, job creation
Monday, 02 January 2012 00:00 SIAKA MOMOH
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The Federal Government is set to develop the country’s agricultural sector, such that it can produce the bulk of the foodstuff for local consumption, create employment for teeming masses, save the nation billions of dollars spent on importing food, and rescue her from the perils of remaining a mono-economy.

This is coming after decades of neglect, the expenditure of tens billions of dollars on the importation of food items –many of which cound been grown locally and the hazards of running a mono-economy.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is out with a master plan, and has commenced executing it, to ensure production of rice and cassava in abundance to drastically bring down the import bill.

The country has been spending the alarming sums of N356 billion and N635 billion respectively, on rice and wheat importation annually.

Industry analysts believe this will open up business for Nigerians and foreigners alike, who will want to invest in the agriculture sector. Such investment will span the entire value chain of the agriculture sector, they say.

Innocent Azih, senior consultant/ head programmes, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) says it is possible to abolish rice importation by 2015, not necessarily through an outright fiscal ban, but through fiscal incentives that encourage rice production and processing. “As a matter of fact, all that government needs to do, is to encourage a few champions in rice farming and processing. Once they succeed, many investors will take an immediate cue. Since rice is an annual crop, a committed implementation of the policy in 2012 will create the desired result of abolishing rice imports by 2015.”

He argued the policy must seek to entice the right private players on the one hand, and state and local governments to be involved in creating the production- to-processing infrastructure.

For him, “The existing processing facilities must be encouraged to loop back and invest in on-farm activities or production, even at minimum interest staking. The processing hubs in Abakaliki and the emerging facilities in Anambra should be incentived to engage in production jointventures.”

Nigeria’s total demand for rice per annum is 5.2 million metric tonnes. Two million metric tones is met from import while the balance of 3.2 million metric tonnes is met from local production.

According to Tunji Oredipe, senior technical assistant to Akinwunmi Adesina, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, 18 processing plants are to be established, four have taken off, one is ready to be commissioned in Ebonyi, two are under construction in Birnin Kebbi and one in Minna, Niger State.


There is an approved schedule for 17 of the 18 processing plants, owned variously by 10 companies, made up of Olam Nigeria Limited, Deansmanger Project Limited, Isyaku Rabiu & Sons Limited, Tara- Agro Industries Limited, Laban Global Ventures Limited, Ada Rice Production Limited, Bayelsa Farm Company Limited, Ebony Agro Industries Limited, Stine Industries Limited, and Ofada Veetee Rice Nig Limited.

Olam has three plants located in Kwara, Adamawa and Niger States; Deanmanger has two in Niger; Isyaku Rabiu & Sons has two in Kano; Tara-Agro has one in Taraba; Laban Global Ventures Limited, Ada rice Production Limited, Bayelsa Farm Company Limited have two in Kebbi, Enugu and Bayelsa respectively; and Ebony Agro Industries Limited, Stine Industries Limited, and Ofada Veetee Rice Nig Limited have one in Ebonyi, Anambra and Ogun respectively.

The total cost of these projects which have gotten approval, according to Tunji Oredipe, is N23.8 billion and the federal government is supporting it with 40 percent

http://www.businessdayonline.com/NG/index.php/news/76-hot-topic/31441--govt-farmers-set-for-massive-food-production-job-creation
 
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