Olam Nigeria Limited has invested about $1 billion in Nigeria’s agricultural sector within its 26 years of operation in the country.
Raji George, the vice-president of Olam, disclosed this Tuesday in Abuja, adding that the company was working towards enhancing Nigeria’s food security, boosting self-sufficiency as well as realising the goal of emerging a global exporter of rice.
According to the news agency (NAN), he said the company has also set up a multi-million dollar integrated rice mill, with about 36,000 tonnes per annum capacity in Nasarawa State.
“The 3,000 hectares of land under cultivation on the 6,000-hectare paddy farm, where the rice mill is located, is being increased to 10,000 hectares and will become the largest rice farm in Africa. The mill has given direct employment to 1,000 people from the surrounding communities. The total investment in the integrated farm, the mill, and other facilities amounts to 111 million dollars (about N40 billion),’’ he said.
The farm, he added, was also supporting an “out-grower programme’’ through which rice-growing communities have been empowered with training, pre-finance support, fertiliser and seeds to boost their productivity.
“More than 3,500 rice-growing farmers are currently engaged in training, pre-finance support and inputs supplies in order to improve their own paddy yields, and the target is the production of 16,000 tonnes of rice by 2018,’’ he said.
As part of strategies to cut losses in the rice value chain, rice farmers, he said, have been motivated with the provision of rice mills, while domestic markets were sought for the milled rice.
He said 120 million dollars was spent on poultry and animal feeds business in Kaduna and Ilorin in 2017 to boost food production.
“We are determined to make Nigeria the agricultural hub on the continent; we are, therefore, sourcing, procuring, grading, processing and exporting other agricultural products such as cocoa, cashew, sesame and cotton,’’ he said.
More than 6,000 farmers in Taraba and Benue have been fully registered and equipped with farm inputs at a 50-per-cent subsidy, according t to the vice president.
He said Olam was also making efforts to develop ginneries, with the aim of reviving moribund textile industries across the country.
Frontpage September 4, 2018