Olam Grain Farm To Boost Ru­ral Econ­omy

To En­gage 300,000 Small­holder Farm­ers In Crop Pro­duc­tion

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - BUSINESS AGRO - From Joke Falaju, Abuja

THE Olam Grain farms in Kaduna State, which forms part of the newly com­mis­sioned state-of-the-art In­te­grated Poul­try fa­cil­ity, com­pris­ing of poul­try farm, hatch­ery and feed mill fac­tory has raised the hope of en­gag­ing more than 300,000 small­holder farm­ers in its out­grower pro­gramme.

This is part of its drive to stim­u­late the ru­ral econ­omy, by lo­cally sourc­ing raw ma­te­ri­als such as soy­beans, corn and cas­sava for its an­i­mal feed oper­a­tions, which would pos­i­tively im­pact the small­holder crop farm­ers.

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor and

CEO of Olam Grains, KC Suresh, said Olam has lever­aged its deep knowl­edge of Nige­ria – 27 years ex­pe­ri­ence across ex­ports, im­ports, man­u­fac­tur­ing and farmer en­gage­ment – to iden­tify the needs of Nige­rian con­sumers.

Suresh said Olam Grains has built a highly suc­cess­ful wheat-milling foot­print across Africa and would soon scale up its an­i­mal feed oper­a­tions, both in and be­yond Nige­ria.

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari, while com­mis­sion­ing the fa­cil­ity as­sured that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment would not rest on its oars, un­til ev­ery Nige­rian has ac­cess to food af­ford­ably.

He noted that the feed mill would no doubt spur eco­nomic growth in the state and the coun­try at large. He said: “One of the largest agri­cul­tural firms in our coun­try, I am told that it is one of the big­gest in­vest­ments in the poul­try in­dus­try in Nige­ria. It is clear evi- dence that in spite of all odds, eco­nomic growth is tak­ing place, es­pe­cially in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. This is our prom­ise at the in­cep­tion of this ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, Audu Og­beh said: “The com­mis­sion­ing of this mas­sive fa­cil­ity to­day is a liv­ing tes­ti­mony to our claim that se­ri­ous and last­ing growth is tak­ing place in our econ­omy and that growth can only last if it be­gins at the grass­roots. “Pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment is oc­cur­ring in the de­vel­op­ment space and in­vest­ments such as this and many more are help­ing across the nation and they are very rep­utable in the ev­i­dence we recog­nise that growth will not have been pos­si­ble if it was not per­ceived, but re­mained highly elit­ist and it did not mean­ing­fully ad­dress the gen­uine con­cerns of the largest ma­jor­ity of our peo­ple.

“Our pol­icy in­ter­ven­tion in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor is called the agri­cul­ture pro­mo­tion pol­icy oth­er­wise known as the green al­ter­na­tive, through it, we suc­ceeded in re­design­ing a short­term move­ment em­pha­sis­ing food self-suf­fi­ciency in a short time, es­pe­cially in our lo­cal sta­bles to re­duce the im­por­ta­tion of food that we can pro­duce lo­cally.

“The statis­tics of food im­ports in the past has not been only em­brac­ing but ab­so­lutely un­nec­es­sary, al­most $22 bil­lion was spent an­nu­ally on food im­ports. That sit­u­a­tion was part of what led us to near dis­as­ter.”

“With a pop­u­la­tion of 450 mil­lion by 2030, daily con­sump­tion of food, even if ev­ery Nige­rian eats just N3, 000 worth of food in a day, amounts to N1.8tr per day. That fig­ure is huge, that fig­ure is at­trac­tive and that fig­ure proves that if any­one de­cides to in­vest in agri­cul­ture, that per­son is def­i­nitely go­ing to make profit.” He ap­pealed to farm­ers to ap­ply cer­tain price mod­er­a­tion in or­der to guar­an­tee eq­uity es­pe­cially in the grains sec­tor, “We ap­peal to Olam to ap­ply this same prin­ci­ple ev­ery­where they operate.”

The state gov­er­nor, Malam Nasir El-rufai said based on the state’s quest to en­sure food se­cu­rity and achieve eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion through agri­cul­ture, it de­cided to pull Olam into the state be­cause its farm­ers have a com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage, as lead­ing farm­ers of ginger, maize and soya beans. “Olam farms is the largest sin­gle for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment for decades in the state, it will cre­ate thou­sands of di­rect jobs and cre­ate hun­dreds of thou­sands of in­di­rect jobs and cre­ate a ready source of day old chicks for small poul­try farm­ers through­out north­ern Nige­ria and be­yond.”

In his re­mark, gov­er­nor of the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria (CBN), Mr. God­win Eme­fiele said the com­pany would spur eco­nomic growth, re­duce un­em­ploy­ment and in­crease so­cial growth. He said the fa­cil­ity is a wel­come de­vel­op­ment, say­ing it will in­crease lo­cal pro­duc­tion, re­duce im­port of items the coun­try can pro­duce and save for­eign ex­change.

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