Olam rain farm to boost rural economy

To Engage 300,000 Smallholder Farmers In Crop Production
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 evidence 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 short-term 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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