By Rosemary Onuoha
The agricultural sector in Nigeria will soon experience a revolution as the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is set to pump in $500 million to boost activities in the sector.
To this end, the Foundation has entered into partnership with some state governments for the allocation of lands to commence large scale agricultural activities in the country.
Mr. Tony Elumelu, Founder of TEF who disclosed this to journalist in Lagos stated that the world is potentially facing a food security crisis meanwhile Nigeria has land that can feed the continent of Africa as well provide employment to a significant percentage of the teeming unemployed people.
In his words, “The world is facing a potentially food security crisis and I said to my friends and associates ‘team up with me lets create an agricultural revolution. I am not just telling you to come and invest; I am also ready to co-invest with you. Team up with me lets see how we can do this’ and they are responding to it.”
Elumelu stated that the Foundation has appointed a consultant and spoken to six state governments who have promised to give 50 acres of land each, adding “And our consultants are working with the various state ministries to see how we can make it happen.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and I spoke, we have a master plan for agriculture revolution in Nigeria so we are trying to see what we want to do, so that together it’s a win-win for agriculture and the country.
Elumelu also stated that he has foreign associates who have indicated interest that they will like to invest in Nigerian agricultural sector, as such the Foundation has been talking to them, telling them that Nigeria has a lot of valuable land, water, the right climate etc and they should come and invest in Nigeria, stating “Our land is huge, come so that we can collectively deal with the issue of food security and also engage our people.”
On what the government should do to make the country an attractive destination for investment, Elumelu stated that the government needs to turn the environment around, stating that it is possible and achievable to do so. “We have to consider all the factors that can make us an attractive destination for investors who have capital to invest; for tourists who wants to visit the country, as well as for workers who want to work and grow a career.
My hope is that in the next four years, the new government would pay strong attention to the issue of competitiveness and ease of doing business so that Nigeria will become a good destination for investment,” he stated.
The TEF founder noted that the country needs to deal with all the factors that will make Nigeria a good destination for investors so that if foreigners have money and are looking for a place to invest, they should come to Nigeria. “Some factors should make a rational investor come to Nigeria.
For instance if you want to import goods into the country for your business, how many days will it take you to clear goods at the ports? Countries have moved to a level where they can clear goods within hours or days.
Can we achieve this in Nigeria? Lets say at the end of this year, we achieve a system whereby people can clear goods at the ports within one week, that will help the investment drive of the country. Similarly other infrastructure that will make us do well as a country, we need to build these things,” he noted.