By Naomi Uzor
Lagos—An indigenous agriculture concern, Niyya Farm Group, makers of Farm Pride fruit juice and yoghurt, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to make available special grants for agricultural programs because of their long gestation period.
The Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Rajiv Joshi, told Vanguard that; ‘’Government should provide interest free loans for orchard development with a moratorium of not less than three years, as it is a continuous investment.”
He also said that the importation of cheap concentrates, though cheaper to procure, has negative effects on our kind of business.
According to him; “Synthetic concentrates, for instance, are injurious to health but cheaper to acquire making them available in a lot of fruit juices. The importation of concentrates should be regulated to protect local farmers and companies who are developing agriculture, creating employment and contributing to forex.”
“As the Federal Government is looking to implement its program of providing free food for primary school children, Niyya/Farm Pride could as well partner with the authorities in delivering healthy and nutritious drinks to these kids.
‘’Banning of synthetic concentrate which is actually very dangerous for the health of the people, will go a long way in helping agriculture in the country. Only fruit concentrate from reliable sources should be allowed for importation” he stated.
He said the import duty on such concentrate should be hiked significantly so that there is no price war and local players manufacturing real & natural juice are not killed or closed down.