There is a sharp decline in revenue accruing from oil sales globally. Nigeria is no exception and has been affected by this global endemic, as a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Consequently, the negative trend has telling effects on monthly allocation accruing from the Federation Account to its two other tiers of government. As a way to remain afloat, both the federal and state governments have devised other means of generating revenue for the running of the government.
The governments at all levels, individuals and corporate organisations have divested into agricultural business as a tested, viable and reliable sector to bridge the yawning gap in respect to the hitherto over-reliance on the oil proceeds for survival. On account of its dominant role, agriculture is a key player in poverty reduction and job creation.
Narrowing it down to Ogun State, the current administration has placed premium in the sector to guarantee food security, job creation and ultimately as a source of generating revenue into its coffers and shore up it’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR).
The agricultural agenda of the present administration is geared towards giving support to the private sector’s smallholder farming and linkage to industrial processing, job creation, agricultural industrialisation, food and nutrition aimed at ensuring food security and the resolve to connect all agencies and multinational/international development partners that have the mandate of agricultural and value chain actors.
The dairy and cattle value chain job and food security have formed parts of the administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun when it assumed the mantle of leadership on May 29, 2019. No wonder early this year, the administration approved a special focus on food and nutrition with the linkage of the people of the state to the nutritious food of animal and plants.
The intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a partner in this initiative, is a main financial anchor for numerous linkage programmes in agriculture, with 7,000 linked to credits and inputs for cassava and rice in a short and restrictive COVID-19 season. Indeed, it is a good development that the CBN and the state officials in the CBN/Ogun State Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) steering committee, in collaboration with Cattle Farmers Association in the state, have compiled a list of interested youths in the state and farmers who have registered with the state, for dairy and cattle value chain job opportunities.
It is cheery news that the state government has opened up new opportunities for potential investors, resulting from the new framework for Responsible Intensive Land Investment In Agriculture (FRILIA) that was recently signed. Thus, the rationale is towards providing supplementary free investment promotion advice and training to value chain actors.
Worthy of note is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state and Fan Milk Plc on Thursday, January 28, 2021, that signaled the beginning of another milestone in the industrial revolution efforts in the state.
At the signing of the partnership agreement witnessed by the France Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Jerome Pasquier, France Consul-General in Lagos, Mrs Laurence Monmayrant, Regional Agricultural Counsellor, Dr Sonia Darracq, Economic Counsellor, Mr Paschal Furth, Chairman, FAN Milk, Mr Olayinka Akinkugbe, Managing Director, Ferdinand Moukwa, Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, Mr Olakunle Olusanya, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Tokunbo Talabi, Chief of Staff (CoS), Alhaji Shuaib Salisu, Commissioner for Finance, Mr Dapo Okubadejo, Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Investment, Mrs Kikelomo Longe, Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, among others, Governor Abiodun noted that agriculture remained a key sector that the administration upon assumption of office, on May 29, 2019, was seriously working hard to ensure that the state becomes the food hub of the nation.
While lending credence to President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda of “Grow what you eat and eat what you grow,” the governor acknowledged the contribution of the FAN Milk Plc, dating back to five decades of operations and expressed hope that the signing of the MoU would help the state in its human capacity building and as well as job creation.
“Agriculture is one of our key sectors. We have the land, the people and traditional farmers. Today, we have done so much to become number one in egg, poultry and cassava production in the country, and rice, kola nuts, cocoa and cotton production in the entire West African sub-region. Our fish production has become a model on the continent,” the governor said.
In his own remarks, the France Ambassador, Pasquier, justified the singing of the papers, which he said would help in no small measure to reduce food importation and increase food security. He added that the company was ready to diversify by using local raw materials for production.
“The MoU is a step in the corporate alliance, with one of the most successful (Ogun) states in the country. When fully operational, the partnership would help create job opportunities for the people of the state and also help develop the modern rearing method of local cows and production of dairy in the state,” said the ambassador.
Also, the chairman, FAN Milk, Mr. Akinkugbe, declared that the company had settled down in the state to tap from its agricultural potential for the development of the state and the country at large.
Subsequently, at the groundbreaking event of laying the foundation of the proposed FAN Milk & Danone Model Dairy Farm and Dairy Training Institute located at Odeda Farm Institute, the Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Odedina, said that the government was doing a lot of vigorous engagements by placing greater responsibility and recognition on the farmers. He, however, appealed to the company for support and cooperation.
“Here in Odeda Farm Institute, we have 47,000 capacity cassava demonstration technology to deliver 50,000 tonnes of cassava. It is a value chain technology which ought to serve the entire state and beyond. Because, here, we have a driving chain opportunity. Soon, we are going to approach the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) for an award of Diploma certificates,” Odedina said.
The Chief of Staff (CoS), Alhaji Shuaib Salisu, who represented the governor at the event, stated that the Odeda Farm Institute is one of the oldest settlements established by the defunct Western Region Government. According to Salisu, members of the host community are hospitable and he, therefore, appealed to the company to establish and maintain cordial relationships with the locales.
Meanwhile, the Backward Integration Operational Plan (BIOP) of the company consist of three value chains. They are the (a) Model Dairy Farm which entails the setting up of the company by Danone; operations to be carried out by the locales; provision of training support by Danome; and veterinary/extension services-consultancy; (b) the Dairy Training Farm owns the farm; owns existing and new local Dairy farmers outside own farm; and (c) Milk Collection Centre sets up milk collection centres for own farm and out-growers and finally, own milk trucks.
In addition, the Project Key Milestones and Timelines involve in the First Milk collection from the farm which is in about 18 to 24 months, realistically.