Nigeria Exported N41.9bn Sesame, N13.7bn Cashew in 1Q 2021, Says FACAN

Source: ThisDayLive

Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria (FACAN) has said Nigeria’s agricultural export stood at N127 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
The figure, according to the organisation, represents 128 per cent increase, compared to N55.8 billion in fourth quarters of 2020.

Chairman of FACAN, Edo chapter, Mr Enahoro Ojiefoh, stated this during the distribution of sesame seeds and cashew seedlings to farmers in Edo North Senatorial District yesterday.
Ojiefoh said sesame topped the list of agro-export commodities, with an estimated export value of N41.9 billion, while cashew nuts, both in-shell and shelled, valued at N13.7 billion.

Ojiefoh said sesame represented huge opportunities for the country in terms of generating export revenue, adding that it was a cash crop that could fetch the country $1.5 billion, if opportunities therein were maximised.
According to him, Nigeria has been one of the highest sesame seed producing countries over the years, thus making the seed an important component of the country’s agricultural export.

“Sesame seeds come from a flowering plant, mostly grown in Northern Nigeria due to the drought-resistant nature of the seed.
“Aside the fact that it has numerous health and industrial benefits and widely used for baking, medicine, cosmetics and animal feeds, it also has high oil content of about 44 per cent to 60 per cent.
“Reports have it that the global demand for the commodity is expected to grow at 4.2 per cent compound annual growth rate between 2018 and 2024.

“Nigeria is expected to key into this, considering its land mass and the fact that the sesame is drought-resistant and requires minimal fertiliser, which makes it cheaper to cultivate than other crops,” he said.

FACAN’s chairman said that 55,000 cashew seedlings and 100 sesame seeds were to be distributed to farmers in the senatorial district for cultivation, stressing that the idea was to make Edo an agricultural export state.

He said that the association had designed a four-year master plan to inject one million cashew trees in multiple of hundreds yearly and 2,000 tonnes of sesame seeds yearly into the state’s economy.

Ojiefoh added that this could translate into about a minimum of N8 billion in value by the fifth year.
“But, for this to happen successfully, we humbly seek the support of the state government for, and collaboration of the private and organised sectors with, FACAN in actualising this goal within the next five years.

He urged the farmers to key into the agro-business export commodity by cultivating cashew and sesame for export production.

“FACAN will do all it takes to position you for success by being the investment broker, helping you understand the terrain and making you attractive to industries and factories, both home and abroad,” he said.

Orbih Asks South-south Govs to Enact VAT Law
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the South-south governors to give backing to the recent legal move to reposition the collection of Value Added Taxes (VAT) to states.
National Vice Chairman, South-south of the party, Chief Dan Orbih made this call yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Benin.

The party said that the recent judicial interpretation to the VAT law, which reposed in the federating states the powers to superintendent over the consumption tax showed that the judiciary was alive to its responsibilities.

“The court has placed VAT where the duty rightly belongs,” he said adding that it would be a catalyst for grassroots development.

Orbih noted that the recent action to seek interpretation of the VAT law by Rivers and later Lagos State, was a big window for the South-south and indeed other states to achieve the long desired quest for fiscal federalism.

“Yes, one must first commend the innovative and painstaking pursuit of this case by Governot Nyesom Wike of Rivers.
“This is a big window for the South-South states to achieve the long desired quest for fiscal federalism.
“With this development the long desired dream of many Nigerians for equitable distribution of resources has been given a very strong push.

“This is a bold and salutary move in restructuring our tax collection system. The soundness in the economics of Wike’s action is seen in the speed with which Lagos state moved in the same direction toward pursuing the same objective.”

Orbih described the Rivers and Lagos states’ domestication of the VAT law as a nonpartisan action driven by the burning desire to give practical meaning to fiscal federalism.

“I call on other state governors, especially in the South-South to move with dispatch in support of VAT collection and retention by states. I say to them, the South-south governors, to act now that the iron Is hot.”

The South-south PDP leader further said that the Nation could not continue to practice political federalism with overbearing unitary economic policies.

He stress that the action was in the interest of all.
According to him, what the judicial pronouncement will achieve is that it will encourage states to work harder in boosting economic activities and engender healthy competitive spirit that will in the end make Nigeria better for all.

Orbih, therefore, urged the other governors to embrace such welcome initiative and disregard the obvious but expected opposition from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS).

NIMASA’s Mandate Not to Generate Revenue, Says FG
The federal government has revealed that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) mandate is not to generate revenue.

It said the mandate of the agency was to act as regulator of maritime safety and security.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, explained this in a statement by the ministry ‘s Director of Press and Public Relations, Mr Eric Ojiekwe yesterday.
Amaechi made the disclosure at the final session of the five-day National Council on Transportation (NCT), held in the commercial city of Kano, Kano State.

He said: “People put NIMASA under pressure that they must make money; make money for what, NIMASA actually is a regulatory authority, not for them to go and look for money.
“The people that should be making money and they must hear it now is the Nigeria Ports Authority. It is their responsibility to make money.

”NIMASA should therefore focus on being a regulatory authority on issues of safety and security of our waterways.”
The minister expressed dismay over the inability to convene the NCT for the past three years due to economic downturn and advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He then expressed optimism that critical decisions bordering on transportation would be addressed at the summit.
“Transportation is essential to sustainable development as it enables access to employment, business, education, health services and social interactions.

”The prosperity and wellbeing of developing and developed world are inseparably linked to transport.
”As such, President Muhammadu Buhari has made issues relating to transportation, one of the topmost priorities of his administration,” he said.

On the state of the Dala Inland Dry Port, the minister said the federal government would not commission the project if it did not see a completed primary school offering free education to the many out-of-school children in the area.

“I want NSC to note this because that’s the agreement we had with the concessionaire.
”Shippers’ council can charge whatever you want to charge for the dry port but part of the profit that they make in the dry port will go to the upbringing of those children,“ Amaechi noted.

The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki said: “after the last time the council met, Nigeria ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).
”The ratification of the AfCTA is a new dawn with significantly positive ramifications for our collective future.

”Nigeria has an opportunity to leverage its geographical position, its large domestic market and industrial capacity to become the transportation hub for Africa.

”But this prize will not be easily won and there is much work to do to actualise this potential. It will require smart, rigorous, foresighted planning and swift, diligent execution across all modes of transportation,” she said.

Also speaking also, Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, represented by his Deputy, Dr Nasiru Gawuna, expressed satisfaction at the theme of the event, sustainable development as a panacea for national development.

”The theme gives me the impression that we are on the path of overcoming national development challenges. This is based on the fact that the transport industry is one promising sector that if exploited optimally, will stimulate the needed economic transformation in our country.

Agriculture: Nigeria’s Sesame exports could rise to $1.5 billion – FACAN

Source: Nairametrics

The Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria (FACAN) has revealed that Nigeria had agriculture exports of N127 billion in Q1 2021, adding that Sesame topped the list of exported agriculture commodities at N41.9 billion.

It added that Sesame could contribute $1.5 billion to Nigeria’s agriculture exports if maximized and also called for the support of the state government and collaboration of the private and organised sectors with FACAN in boosting agriculture exports in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of FACAN, Edo chapter, Mr Enahoro Ojiefoh, during the distribution of sesame seeds and cashew seedlings to farmers in Edo North Senatorial District, over the weekend, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

FACAN revealed that sesame topped the list of agro-export commodities, with an estimated export value of N41.9 billion, while cashew nuts, both in-shell and shelled, were valued at N13.7 billion, and added that Sesame was a huge opportunity for Nigeria to earn major FX and export revenue, forecasting export revenues of $1.5 billion.

What FACAN said

Speaking during the event, Ojiefoh said, “Sesame seeds come from a flowering plant, mostly grown in Northern Nigeria due to the drought-resistant nature of the seed.

“Aside from the fact that it has numerous health and industrial benefits and is widely used for baking, medicine, cosmetics and animal feeds, it also has high oil content of about 44 per cent to 60 per cent.

“Reports have it that the global demand for the commodity is expected to grow at 4.2 per cent compound annual growth rate between 2018 and 2024.

“Nigeria is expected to key into this, considering its land mass and the fact that the sesame is drought-resistant and requires minimal fertiliser, which makes it cheaper to cultivate than other crops.” 

He said that FACAN had designed a four-year master plan to inject one million cashew trees in multiple of hundreds yearly and 2,000 tonnes of sesame seeds yearly into the state’s economy, as it distributed 55,000 cashew seedlings and 100 sesame seeds to farmers in Edo state for cultivation, in a bid to boost agriculture exports in Edo state.

“But, for this to happen successfully, we humbly seek the support of the state government for, and collaboration of the private and organised sectors with FACAN in actualising this goal within the next five years.

“FACAN will do all it takes to position you for success by being the investment broker, helping you understand the terrain and making you attractive to industries and factories, both home and abroad,” he said.

Nigeria partners ADB, others to create Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones

Source: Premium Times

Nigeria’s federal and state governments have expressed overwhelming support for an initiative to create Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) – public-private partnerships aimed at developing priority value chains through developing infrastructure in rural areas, focused on finishing and transforming raw materials and commodities.

At a high-level briefing session held on Monday, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who hosted the meeting, reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to put in place enabling policies and incentives to attract private sector investment in the zones, to ensure successful implementation.

“The federal government is committed to successfully implementing the programme to increase agricultural production, reduce poverty, and scale up job creation across the country,” Mrs Ahmed said.

The participants, representatives of the African Development Bank Group, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), provided progress updates on the scheme, following their consultations with key stakeholders within the public and private sectors.

The Director General of the African Development Bank’s Nigeria Country Department, Lamin Barrow, said the zones would be rolled out in 18 African countries, including Nigeria.

The Nigeria Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone programme consists of four mutually reinforcing components – infrastructure development and agro-industrial hubs management; agriculture productivity and production; policy and institutional development; and programme coordination and management.

“The Bank and its development partners are mobilizing $520 million to co-finance the first phase of the program in Nigeria, be implemented in phases across six geo-political zones,” Mr Barrow said.

Mrs Ahmed said all 36 States in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory would be eligible to participate in the SAPZ programme. In addition to the Federal Capital Territory and 7 states – Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Cross River, Ogun and Oyo – participating in Phase 1, several other states have indicated interest in the SAPZ programme. These include Bauchi, Lagos, Niger, Jigawa, Ekiti, Lagos, Taraba, Benue, Sokoto, Ondo, Nasarawa, Gombe and Kogi.

Oyebanji Oyeleran-Oyeyinka, Senior Adviser on Industrialisation to the President of the African Development Bank, said “the zone model is an explicit industrialization strategy to transform poor rural spaces into zones of prosperity, stem rural-urban migration, end human insecurity induced by herder-farmers clashes, and provide employment to Nigerian youth.”

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo, commended the strategic initiative of the African Development Bank and its partners, and added “strong private sector participation will ensure that the project aligns with the Federal Government’s industrialization agenda.”

Also present at the meeting, African Development Bank Group’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford, said, “In the same manner that SAPZs have worked in other countries, it will create jobs, develop skills, and facilitate agricultural value chains development in Nigeria. Private sector investment is critical to the success of the SAPZs, as well as having the right policies in place. Action is needed now. The African Development Bank is ready to accelerate this action.”

IFAD’s Associate Vice President for Programme Management, Donald Brown, said, “this flagship project will enable us to take our relationship with the African Development Bank to another level. Our relationship started 43 years ago, and since then we have worked together on 52 projects. But I think the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones are the biggest and most high-profile project that IFAD and the Bank will work on together.”

Solomon Quaynor, African Development Bank’s Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, noted that “the quality of industrial policies and design will influence the quality of private sector operators that can be attracted into the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones.”R

Ougfaly Badji, IsDB’s Senior Agricultural Economist said the zones would enable producers, processors, and the entire agricultural value chain in Nigeria, to become more functional and profitable.

Special Agro-industrial Processing are a flagship initiative of the Bank’s ‘Feed Africa’ strategic priority. They aim to provide end-to-end solutions and services that de-risk production, processing, and marketing operations of private sector actors as they boost manufacturing and transformation capacity in production areas. The end result is improved livelihoods for millions in the rural areas as well as a reduction in poverty.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

‘Our target is 50% increase in food production by 2025’

Source: The Guardian

Determined to achieve food security in Lagos, the state government has restated its commitment to increasing food production by 50 per cent over the next four years, thereby creating new opportunities to feed itself and other states in Nigeria, as well as stimulating economic growth and prosperity through agriculture.

The State Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, who disclosed this at an event organised to mark the 150th Cooperative Anniversary of Friesland Campina, said the present administration’s effort would boost economic growth and prosperity in the agriculture sector.

Referring to the recent launch of the Agriculture Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme, Hamzat said the launch is a clear reference to the expansion of government’s vision, which is driven by a “Farm to Table Model” and has so far empowered about 3,000 urban and rural farmers in key sectoral value chains in the process.

He said: “Under the leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State, as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, has further renewed the vigour and vision to increase food production by, at least, 50 per cent by 2025, thereby creating new opportunities to feed itself and Nigeria, as well as stimulating economic growth and prosperity through agriculture.”

The Deputy Governor hoped that even after the tenure of the current administration, the vision would be carried along into the future by other administrations with more farmer recruitments.

Hamzat stated that as Lagos State celebrates this anniversary with Friesland Campina, Nigerian investors and business communities must remember that the onus of building a great brand, such as Friesland Campina, is essential to safeguarding economic, cultural and historical traditions to strengthen the country’s unity.

While congratulating the company on the milestone, Hamzat thanked them for having faith in the nation’s economy, despite the trying and challenging environment.

Osun distributes cocoa seedlings, agro-chemicals to farmers

Source: The guardian

Osun State Government, on Tuesday, distributed 100,000 cocoa seedlings to about 1,000 farmers in the state.

The state government also distributed agro-chemicals, hand-spraying tools, limes, and other inputs to farmers across the local government areas of the state.

The government also inaugurated Osun Broilers Out-growers Production Scheme III (OBOPS) to enhance the capacity of livestock production and turn around the fortune of the scheme to be more profitable and attractive to farmers.

Farmers in each local government area got 1,500 cocoa seedlings as priority was given to the cocoa-producing local government areas of the state.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola said the government efforts were aimed at actualising its set objectives to reposition agriculture and make Osun the food basket of the nation and the Southwest in particular.

Distributing the farm inputs freely to farmers at the Agriculture Demonstration Centre, Aisu, in Ede South Local Government Area of the State, Governor Oyetola noted that the initiative was aimed at actualising the agricultural revolution agenda of the government.

He said the government was committed to turning Osun into the food hub of the Southwest, as policies had been tailored towards ensuring adequate availability of fertile land, good roads, relatively good rainfall pattern, and above all, to ensure peaceful coexistence between the herdsmen and the farmers.

“I would like to remind this gathering of my inaugural speech where I promised that our administration would consolidate on the Agricultural Land Expansion Programme for the establishment of additional farm settlements.

“It is my pleasure to inform you that we have approved the establishment of 10,000 hectares of farmland to be used as a farm settlement at F3 in Ife-South Local Government in which 400 hectares of the farmland have been cleared to empower 1,000 youths in the cultivation of arable crops. Also, 23 hectares of farmland have been cleared at Ifon, in Orolu Local Government as a demonstration site for youths and women empowerment and agro-processing centres.

“To fulfill our electioneering promises in the agricultural sector, the government has embarked on a number of projects aimed at enhancing the economic base of the state and that of the farmers, especially the tree crop unit of the ministry, which is distributing cocoa seedlings freely.

“Also, the state government established a demonstration site at AISU, Ede, where greenhouse, with irrigation facilities, has been installed for all-year-round tomato production, construction of fish ponds, and milk collection centre to demonstrate good agricultural practices.

“Furthermore, the Extension Services delivery arm of the Osun State Agricultural Development Programme (OSSADEP) has been fortified to avail our farmers of new and improved up-to-date farming practices, while the Osun State Agricultural Development Corporation (OSSADEC) and Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security have been repositioned with the procurement of new tractors and its implements.

300 Oyo youths benefit from agribusiness empowerment scheme

Source: The Guardian

Over 300 youths from Oyo State have graduated from the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme, held at the International Skill Acquisition Training centre, CSS Global Integrated Farm, Gora, Nasarawa State. 

The beneficiaries, who were part of the first batch of the 3,300 youths from the state were taken through a two-week intensive training across the fields of leadership in agribusiness, irrigation farming, Information/Communication Technology application in agribusiness, fishery farming and management, hydroponics farming, cassava and rice value chain and poultry farming, among others.

This is just as the state Governor, Seyi Makinde unveiled plans to expand the number of the beneficiaries from the initial 3,300 to 10,000 youths. 

He said the state would empower only 1,000 youths through the scheme.

“If 10,000 youths in the state were successfully trained and launched forward, if their annual turn over is about N10m, that means N100b economy for Oyo State.”

The Governor urged the youth to utilise what they were taught as the state government is ready to support them and also provide market for their produce. 

Earlier, the YEAP Coordinator and Director-General of the state Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA), Dr. Debo Akande, said the training is a starting point for the trainees, noting that everything required for the enterprises has been provided by the governor. 

He disclosed that when the youths return to the state they would be attached to various agricultural outfits like the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), among others where they would be provided additional knowledge to launch them in their Agribusinesses

He disclosed that the training programme was fully sponsored by the state government, adding that they would be provided with credit facility from Fidelity Bank that will enable them start well, perform optimally and if they move up the ladder, there will be other support. 

Buhari ratifies 2007 international Coffee Agreement 

President Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed and ratified the International Coffee Agreement, 2007. This was done on the 17th of August, 2021 after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved Nigeria’s membership of the in the International Coffee Organisation (ICO).

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity confirmed this in a statement on Thursday, in Abuja.

Shehu state that “the FEC meeting has drawn a conclusion on the agreement on October 21, 2020, with emphasis on Conclusion 10, which approved the preparation of the instrument of Ratification Of Nigeria’s membership of the International Coffee Organisation and International Coffee Agreement of 2007.

“The 2007 Agreement will strengthen the ICO’s role as a forum for intergovernmental consultations, facilitate international trade through increased transparency and access to relevant information.

“The agreement is an important instrument for development cooperation and will provide the legal framework for core activities undertaken by the Organisation in the Future.”

He added that the agreement would promote a sustainable coffee economy for the benefit of all relevant stakeholders, and particularly, of small-scale farmers in coffee-producing countries.

The Instrument of Ratification was prepared by the Attorney-General of the federation and Minster of Justice, Abubakar Malami


TGI Group seeks cultivation of sesame to boost foreign exchange

Source: The Guardian

Nigeria has been urged to support the cultivation of sesame to boost the country’s foreign exchange.

This was the submission of experts at the International Sesame Seed Conference, which ended in Kano, yesterday.

The conference was organised by the National Sesame Seed Association of Nigeria (NSSAN) in collaboration with Kano State Government and support from TGI Group, parent company of WACOT Limited, leading food and agro-allied company.

President of the association, Sherrif Balogun, said: “We are currently doing 500,000 tonnes. For Nigeria to maximise its potential, it has to first increase production, and secondly set up dehauling plants for value-addition, and thirdly to set up a sesame oil processing plant.

Also, Corporate Affairs Director, TGI Group, Sadiq Kassim, said TGI was committed to its cultivation, noting that in the last five years, sesame has progressively assumed the role of Nigeria’s leading export commodity.

Path to maximising cassava value chain in Nigeria

Source: The Guardian

Although Nigeria has attained the status of largest producer of cassava in the world with its production accounting for 21 per cent of total production of the crop globally, thanks to recent interventions by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the agro sector, there are indications that concerted efforts are still required to effectively position the country’s cassava in regional and international markets to ensure sustainable development of the sector. These efforts will equally lead to increasing the contribution of cassava to economic transformation through key stakeholders’ involvement and building an agribusiness economy capable of delivering sustained prosperity for food security, exports promotion, sustainable income and job growth.

CBN’s intervention in the sector effectively began in November 2019 when its Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, announced some measures towards addressing the challenges bedevilling the cassava industry in spite of huge investment and government initiatives in the past.

He announced the measures at a meeting with governors of cassava producing states and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Cassava Growers Association and Large Scale Cassava Processors in Abuja.

“This will involve support to the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association at the production level under the ‘Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and support to Large Scale Cassava Processors under the CACS and DCRR programmes,” Emefiele said.

He had disclosed that the CBN was holding consultations with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan and the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, with the aim of encouraging adoption of improved varieties and practices that would guarantee better yield, better processing efficiency, increased profit and improved standard of living for Nigerian farmers.

“We place a high premium on cassava because the commodity can generally be used for different uses along the value 11 chain.

The value chain has enormous potential for employing over two million people in Nigeria if well harnessed, due to the diverse secondary products that it offers. Some of the products include highlighting the potentials of the industry.

“Increasing cassava production is a necessity as starch, glucose, sorbitol and other products currently being imported proffers no future for the nation in the long-term, in view of the fact that Nigeria imports cassava derivatives valued at over $600 million annually.

“Permit me to share with you the gap and potential demand that exists in our cassava value chain: Demand for High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) in bread, biscuits and snacks is above 500,000t annually while supply is below 15,000t; demand for cassava starch is above 300,000t annually while supply is below 10,000t; demand for cassava-based constituents in sugar syrup is above 350,000t annually while supply is almost non-existent; potential demand for ethanol in Nigeria as a fuel for cooking, to power vehicles (E10) and other industrial uses exceeds one billion litres, while production is nearly zero,” Emefiele said.

Findings by The Guardian showed that despite the huge investments in the sector by the apex bank over the past 20 months, these gaps still exist even as the potential of the sector remain largely untapped.

An agribusiness expert, Bernard Olusegun Siwoku, attributed the situation to some factors like inadequate funding, insecurity and climate change.

He said: “Let’s start by looking at the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme. There are so many laudable projects by the government but most times implementation is always a challenge. If you check the number of farmers that have been able to access this scheme, it is still very low. And if there is no cassava root, there is always a challenge of raw materials to supply to processors who need these roots for their own final products. So, that is already one challenge.

“Equally, we have the problem of insecurity going on in the country now with herdsmen invading farms and the thing is that the cassava varieties we have now are the sweet varieties, which is edible to animals, not the old bitter varieties. So, you see that after consuming the leaves of the cassava plant, some herdsmen uproot the cassava and chop it off for the animals to consume. And when the farm owners confront them, it becomes confrontational to the point of attacking and maiming some of people. That is another challenge facing the sector.

“Then again if you look at funding support, farmers want some assistance for land clearing. When you have a factory in your proximity, you can decide to supply them. You have the land but the land is virgin land and you will need to clear it. One, the bulldozers and tractors are not readily available; two, when they are available they are always very expensive. As we speak now, it costs between N225,000 to N250,000 to clear just one hectare. Now, the bulk of the production we have in Nigeria is by smallholder farmers and they cannot afford this. They will rather use that money to cultivate in other places than to clear land; and that money cannot be recouped in one season. It will take them some years before they are able to recoup the cost of land clearing.

“Then there is the issue of climate change which is also rearing its head now. The rain pattern cannot be predicted as it used to. Now, that is also a concern because we are still relying on rain-fed agriculture. When the rains are not regular or according to the initial pattern, there will be a challenge. For sometime now, even maize farmers experience a serious challenge. When the initial rain came, they thought the rain was here and planted but the rain seized.”

Siwoku, who is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Spine Edge Consulting Limited, noted that on the side of the processors, the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted both negatively and positively on them.

“The positive side for our sector now is that things are not coming in as they used to. So, end users and manufacturers are now looking for alternative local sources, which would have aided a lot of processors to be working but then the raw material that is not available is affecting them. So, now they can produce locally and sell; the market is there but the challenge is the raw material, which is cassava roots. That is one area we also need to look at,” he added.

Siwoku, who was the Business Development Expert for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Cassava Adding Value for Africa Project Phase I and II implemented in five African countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania for over 11 years (2008-2019), urged the Federal government to develop a holistic policy to support the sector and enhance its value chain.

“If we have a policy that is holistic in nature, that is looking at local content, that is encouraging manufacturers to buy and utilise locally produced raw materials, that again will translate into increasing GDP, increasing employment rate and reducing rural-urban migration. So, we need to have a policy that will be holistic. But what we have is just a mention of cassava in some policy documents,” he noted.

A major player in the cassava value chain industry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, corroborated Siwoku’s view. According to the source, adopting a holistic approach to maximise the sector would help to increase the contribution of cassava to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and lead to job creation.

The expert stated that this projection for the cassava sector could only be actualised by identifying and developing new market opportunities for import substitution and export; stimulating increased private sector investment in the establishment of export-oriented cassava industries; ensuring the consistent production and supply of fresh cassava roots with high starch content to end user industries; advocating for supportive policy and institutional reforms for the development of the Nigerian cassava sector; facilitating the establishment of targeted support infrastructures that would reduce transaction cost and increase competitiveness of the entire cassava commodity chain in Nigeria and integrating the rural poor, especially women and youths, into the mainstream of the national economy.

Speaking on the investment outlook of the sector and what is required to effectively drive the vision of transforming the cassava sector into a multi-billion dollar industry, the expert said: “This will require additional investment in the establishment of processing facilities to produce food grade starch, ethanol, high quality cassava flour and glucose syrup. This will also open export market for these products in the West Africa sub-region. The establishment of additional plants will also lead to cultivation of additional hectares of land for cassava. The bulk of the investment is in the traditional food chain of gari, fufu, lafun etc. and the increasing trend of production of packaged foods for both local and international markets.

“The ethanol production facility will also have a huge investment for both set up cost and the fresh cassava root requirement. Currently, a sorbitol plant is at the stage of commissioning, and it is the first of its kind in the country and it will be using cassava as raw material. There is still an untapped opportunity in modified starches that can be produced in-country and exported to earn more foreign exchange for the country. Other investors are installing HQCF, ethanol and starch processing facility.

“Cassava processing equipment fabrication is also another area of investment in the country with some Nigeria fabricated equipment being supplied to other African countries. The equipment that has left the shores of the country include the flash dryers, automatic garri roaster, hydraulic presser, stainless steel roasting pans, graters, wet and dry hammer mills.”x

On the enabling policies required to achieve the target, the source urged the Federal Government to enforce its plan to reduce wheat importation by implementing 10 per cent HQCF inclusion in bread policy, adding that this would bring about additional investments in the establishment of large scale HQCF factories in the country.

The source also called for the promotion of local content in cassava industrialisation; promotion of crop cultivation insurance contracts policy excluding exogenous default risks; import restriction on cassava-based products and close substitutes; no Import Duties on agricultural machineries and agro processing equipment; single digit credit facilities for cassava value chain actors on clear financial products and tax holiday for new investors in the commodity value chain sector.

“For the transformation and realisation of the multi-billion US$ cassava industry, the road map should involve ensuring the consistent supply of fresh cassava roots to end user industries by targeting increased productivity per unit area and ensuring that farmers are clustered around processing factories. This should involve the commercial production of fresh cassava roots with high starch and dry matter content that will be affordable to the industrial end-users,” the source added.

Okowa and Delta Agro-Industrial Park

Source: The Guardian


A five-point policy thrust that connotes Strategic Wealth creation projects and provision of jobs for all Deltans, meaningful peace-building platforms aimed at political and social harmony, agricultural reforms and accelerated industrialization, Relevant Health and Education policies, and a transformed environment through urban renewal.

The goal of these profound agendas is to enthrone a Stronger Delta with a people-centered vision of prosperity for all Deltans.

One of the most ambitious of these broad-based objectives is an Agro-industrial park project, designed as the hub of economic development and accelerated industrialization in Delta state.

The Agro-industrial park is hence the key instrument for the fruition of the development objectives of Okowa’s Smart Agenda.

Located at Aboh-Ogwashi, a scenic suburban settlement, in Aniocha South local government area, about 20 minutes drive from Asaba, Delta state capital, it is a perfect setting for agricultural revolution with her sprawling landscape, rooted in the richest of tropical African rainforest belt.

Embedded at the confluence of two all-season rivers – River Ubu and Iyi-Ada, both flowing as a tributary into River Niger, the agro-industrial park cover a total land area of 220 hectares.

The ultimate aim is to fast track and transform the agricultural value chain towards achieving economic diversification, food sufficiency, job and wealth creation, and sustainable growth for the well-being of the present and future generations of Deltans.

The Aboh Ogwashi agro-industrial park is beyond rhetorics. It is not a white elephant project by any imagination. The facility is viable and profitable with impressive equity-Delta State Government 40%, MGA Agricultural Resources Ltd. 30%, and Norsworthy Investments Ltd. 30%.

At the height of operation, it will take about 30 agro-processing factories and agribusiness enterprises, with unprecedented socio-economic impact, creating over 4000 direct and indirect jobs, within the park. This is in addition to tens of thousands of jobs, envisaged to be generated throughout the state, as a result of the activities of the Agro-Industrial park.

Governor Okowa, sure-footed in foresight has empowered an 11 member implementation committee to develop the Agro-industrial park, with the state’s chief Job and Wealth Creation officer, Professor Eric Eboh as chairman.

Professor Eboh is an Agricultural Economist and Development Policy Expert with a robust national and international portfolio. He is joined by a team of cabinet members from the ministries of Agriculture and natural resources, Finance, Housing, Lands, and survey.

Other members of the implementation team are drawn from the ministries of Justice, Trade and Investment as well as the Chief Economic ‭Adviser,‬Director-General, Delta State Investment and development Agency, ‬Managing Director, Contemporary Design Associates ‭, and ‬Assistant Director, Delta State Job and Wealth creation bureau who serves as Secretary.x

The committee a carefully selected think -tank will operate the agro-industrial park through public-private partnership (PPP), promoting investor confidence and business competitiveness. This will enable the park as a safe operating space to leverage the twin impact of agricultural development and industrial infrastructure, in line with global best practices.

In the words of Professor Eboh the park is “conceived as a multipurpose and multiproduct epicenter of agro-processing, agro-industrial and agribusiness activities in the state” designed to serve as “infrastructure, logistics and services haven”.

Against this backdrop, the Delta State Government has been implementing measures to establish the Agro-Industrial Park since 2015.

There was a study visit to Israel for the assessment of comparative agro-industrial models and first-hand evaluation of activities of prospective technical partners.

After satisfactory checks, the State Executive Council gave approval for the establishment of the multi-purpose Park on 14th November 2017, culminating in the ratification by the Delta House of Assembly.

In the following years, national and international negotiations with investors on the PPP as well sourcing and mobilization of funds were painstakingly undertaken.

This eventually paved the way for Commencement of Construction Works by the Contractor, Sequoia Solutions and Innovations Ltd beginning from 26th October 2020. It is projected to be completed in May 2022.x

By design, the park will be endowed with clustered infrastructure, facilities pertaining to power, water (irrigation, industrial and domestic), security, research and training, quality assurance, sewage systems, and waste management. Others are marketing and commerce, packaging, product warehousing, handling and storage, equipment maintenance, administration, conferences/meetings, residential and hospitality outlets.

The agro-industrial operators at the park include Rice mills manufacturers, Cassava chips, flour, starch, and garri producers.Banana/plantain flour makers, palm oil-based products, and wood makers. Other activities are Milk processing, slaughterhouses for beef, broilers, pork, and related livestock products, dried and pickled fruits and vegetables. Part of the Park has also been mapped out for Irrigated high technology farming.

It is open to interested investors. The availability of adequate, reliable, and sustained infrastructure and services removes the most critical constraint to the start-up, profitability, viability, and competitiveness of agroindustries in the state.

Therefore, the agro-industrial park provides an investor-friendly business environment suitable for the development of the agricultural value chain.

Businesses in the park will benefit from dedicated common infrastructure including an internal network of roads, power, water, storage, packaging utilities, waste treatment, transportation, communication, export-import services, training and management, research, and security services.

The multi-faceted amenities and services will guarantee smooth and uninterrupted operations, ease of logistics as well as protection from occupational risks and uncertainties. Moreover, co-locating agroindustries will enjoy inter-firm cooperation and collaboration, mutual learning, and multilateral sharing of experiences.

The diverse gains of the Agro-industrial park are unassailable. They can not be overstated. Delta and indeed Nigeria would gain bountifully as it is a plausible elixir for poverty reduction and catalyst for economic development and wealth creation among the people.

Governor Okowa deserves commendation for the enduring vision of Delta Agro-industrial park.

A legacy project that would boost popular prestige and place Delta on the threshold of the agricultural revolution, rapid industrialization, and sustainable development.