These are exciting times for Agriculture in Nigeria, considering President Muhammadu Buhari's vision for the (agric) sector, as an integral part of the country's plan for sustainable economic growth and development.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, expressed this view earlier today during a meeting at the Presidential Villa with a group of Nigerian and Mexican agro-business interests.
"President Buhari has said it repeatedly that agriculture and solid minerals, especially agriculture is our economic way out. This is the president's vision, and our job-the rest of us- is to look for ways to get that dream actualized," Professor Osinbajo said at the meeting which was also attended by the Minister of State for Agriculture & Rural Development, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri. Lokpobiri led a Mexican agro-business concern, the San Carlos Group and their Nigerian partner Wells Farm, from Edo State. The CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Mr. Segun Awolowo, Jnr was also at the meeting.
According to the Vice President, President Buhari is ready to support the agricultural plans "in any way necessary," assuring that the federal government will ensure conducive customs and immigration policies including tariffs in order to attain the vision. He added that this is why the President set-up the Presidential Council on the Ease of Doing Business to attract local and foreign investors.
"There is no doubt in which direction we should go, agriculture is in the forefront and we do realise the urgency of the moment and the importance of getting things done quickly," the VP stated adding that with the experience of the Mexican company-Carlos, he is optimistic that the plans and projections tabled at the meeting would be attained.
Under the plan, Wells Farm would partner with Carlos in several agricultural business initiatives and employ a total of about 85,000 Nigerians. A suggestion to replicate the partnership with Carlos in the other geopolitical zones just like Wells Farm which is based in the South-South was also discussed. Farms are being opened and talks are already on with a number of other states in the federation to ensure this. Carlos, the Mexican agro-business interest is said to be one of the biggest concerns in the South American country and is part of the story of how Mexico raised its foreign earnings from Agriculture in the last few decades to about $398B.