Home BUSINESS AGRICULTURE Osinbajo To Private Sector: Let’s Work Together To Redefine Agriculture In Economy

Osinbajo To Private Sector: Let’s Work Together To Redefine Agriculture In Economy

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has challenged people in private sector to join hand with the government to redefine agriculture in Nigeria, even as he promised that government will continue to create the enabling environment for the project.

Professor Osinbajo, who spoke today, September 30, at the formal commissioning of Pandagric Novum Farms, an integrated feed and food manufacturing company in Panda community, at the Karu LGA of Nasarawa State, emphasized the importance of private sector investments in the agriculture sector.

“What you see today confirms that there is opportunity in Nigeria for investments in agriculture. “While government commits to creating an enabling environment, we will look to the private sector for the investments to galvanize growth in the sector. “We must indeed, work together to re-define agriculture for the future in Nigeria.”

The Vice President announced the attitude of President Muhammadu Buhari to the agriculture, saying that he “passionately believes in the role of the country’s agriculture sector as a key driver of job creation and economic growth.”
He listed instances in different sub-sectors of the agriculture value chain where the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), as part of its key mandates, has invested in over the last 10 years
One of these investments is the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), which was established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 to address the problem of cost and availability of fertilizer.
according to him, NSIA was enlisted by the President as the project implementing entity, even as he counted the achievements of the PFI, which was restructured in 2022.
“Over its 5-year run (2017 -2021), the programme has delivered over 30 million 50kg bags of NPK 20:10:10 fertiliser to Nigerian farmers, resuscitated the fertiliser blending industry, reviving over 60 otherwise moribund plans scattered across the country, created hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs and enabled government conserve foreign exchange by import substitution amounting to over US$100million.
“With the sector now reactivated, the NSIA’s role in the fertilizer value chain has moved upstream.”

Professor Osinbajo also highlighted the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN) which was established by the NSIA in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the KfW (a development bank).
“In 2018, the NSIA invested US$5.0 million in Babban Gona – a high impact, scalable agricultural franchise that seeks to sustainably improve the lives of smallholder farmers through the provision of credit, inputs, training in good agricultural practices, harvesting & storage services, and marketing services.”
Professor Osinbajo said that in order to address both unemployment, local production growth and food security in particular areas of the country, the NSIA, in 2017, “established an Agriculture Development Fund under a 50:50 joint venture with the Old Mutual Group of South Africa, with a commitment of US$50 million (US$25 million each) towards the development and investment in large-scale agriculture projects, combined with out-grower schemes.
“In 2018, the Fund committed US$29 million towards the acquisition and two-phased development of the Pandagric Novum Farms, an animal feed processing business with backward integration through the farming of maize and soybean.”
The Vice President said that despite the global challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, “between 2018 and now, the Fund has successfully completed the development of Pandagric Novum Farms.”
He observed that some of the key milestones achieved under this project include:
-the installation of a 147,000 metric tons per annum capacity poultry feed mill;
-the installation of 75,000 tons of storage infrastructure in the form of two silos, six bunkers, as well as 35,000 tons of raw material and finished goods storage;
-the installation of 750ha of center pivot irrigation systems;
-the leasing of 3,500 ha of land for the cultivation of maize and soybeans;
-the construction of a 1.4 million cubic meter reservoir for water management; and
-the successful planting of 856ha of maize and 1,200ha of maize during the 2021 and 2022 wet farming seasons respectively.
Professor Osinbajo lauded Pandagric for providing boreholes for all six of its neighbouring communities and developing an out-grower scheme, while providing inputs and training to over 500 small holder farmers.
“It employs almost 800 direct staff and 2,000 indirect staff, making it the largest contributor of PAYE to Nasarawa State; and presently has the largest maize farm across the country.”

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The Vice President commending the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule “for the visionary zeal he has deployed in three and a half years to make Nasarawa the State of choice for Agricultural investment in Nigeria.”

He stressed that the Governor’s support was fundamental in the completion of the project.

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