Nigeria is yet to maximise her agricultural opportunities in some crops due to lack of capacity in the best global practices in processing and packaging, more so, in the technical and mechanized method of arresting post harvest losses.
This was the submission of the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, when a team of Japanese investors visited him in Abuja.
He said there is a huge demand from China for our cassava and pulses for the Indian market, but our present subsistent farming cannot meet the demands, that it can only be attained through sustainable mechanized farming even in the rural area – this he affirmed shall create jobs and wealth for our teeming youths than hanging out in the big cities without good jobs and standard living.
He said the increasing population in Africa and particularly the Nigerian environment has a huge market and therefore is no doubt the best global investment destination for a profitable returns and serious prospective investor in agriculture.
Senator Lokpobiri welcomed the investment plans by this Japanese team to Nigeria saying that the population growth, the available human resources and untapped arable land are great asset to any investor who wants to do business in Nigeria especially when they partner with the Nigerian local investor who already knows the terrain.
Speaking further, he said the federal government with the current Agricultural Policy of it being the next immediate best alternative to oil and gas is also encouraging investors with incentives such as zero import rates and tax duty waivers.
Lokpobiri however assured the Japanese investors of government’s readiness to support them to achieve our need and level of mechanized farming that will ensure the full value chain that will satisfy our sufficiency, safety in food, and to also export to the West African sub-region.
Earlier, the leader of the team Akihiko Yoshizumi, Deputy General Manager of Oversea department Mitsui and Co Limited, said they are in Nigeria to be strategic partners with the Nigerian local investor such as Dansa to expand their capacity in the production of tomato paste and also they are interested in a long term investment in cassava – Nigeria being one of the greatest producers in the world.
Akihiko said they are in Nigeria to identify with the requirements in doing agro-business processing and development of sites to support and also participate in the entire value chains with Nigerian local investors as partners.
He also showed their interest in the growing of cassava especially in the production of starch, which studies have revealed, the Nigerian specie is the best.