By IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA—Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Akinwunmi Adeshina, has disclosed that investors from the United States of America, USA, have agreed to invest $6 billion in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
Adeshina made the disclosure while signing a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Tony Elumelu Foundation, TF, with a view to boosting “Agri-Business”, within the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
According to the Minister, some of the derivable dividends for Nigeria in the partnership would include the establishment of two plants in the North which he said would use about 100,000 hectares of land each for the production of sugar-cane, saying the Federal Government had empowered 13 new rice meals with a total capacity of 210, 000 metric tonnes in the last one year.
He maintained that it was in a bid to revolutionize the agricultural sector so as to make it more attractive to unemployed youths in the country that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan decided to enter into partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation, saying it would “increase labour productivity and make it easier for youths to participate in farming.”
Meanwhile, in his speech, Elumelu, said he would use his business tentacles in the United Bank for Africa, UBA, where he once superintended, towards ensuring that affordable loans were made available to farmers in Nigeria.
Elumelu however blamed wrong agricultural polices by governments of African countries on ignorance.
He argued that African countries adopt wrong agricultural policies due to lack of awareness, so the foundation seeks to provide capacity for African government, which the foundation have done in Sierre leone and Liberia and now Nigeria.
Elumelu said the foundation would conduct a study on failed agricultural projects in the country, so that the information would be available publicly to Nigerian private investors and foreign direct investors who seek to invest in agriculture to take advantage of it.
He also said the foundation has just signed an MoU with a foreign investor to setup a fertilizer plant in the country.
“This will be in the public domain as part of our contribution to grow agriculture in the country,” he said.
“The fellow we are sending to the ministry is one of the most accomplished fellows, we believe as a foundation in the role of the private sector, and we also realize that the private sector cannot do much until it gets the necessary back-up that will unlock investment opportunities,” Elumelu added
Under the MoU, TF would station an investment advisor with the Ministry of Agriculture in order to build capacity to engage domestic and foreign direct investors.
Adeshina said the ministry has made recommendation to the Head of Service of the federation to create a whole department for Agribusiness in the ministry to build internal capacity for agribusiness.