By Oboh Agbonkhese
LAGOS—THE Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Manzo Maigari, has said that the Nigerian billionaires and aristocrats of the future would be farmers. He spoke at the Business of Agriculture conference organised by Vicampro, a potato company, in Lagos.
According to the Commissioner, “farmers will be billionaires and private jet owners of the future. But sustainable agriculture means they must produce at whatever cost and sell at a profit, which our farmers can only do with standardised practise. Farming the same way for more two centuries makes our produce fall below global standard.”
On the herdsmen farmers’ clashes, Dr. Maigari said: “It is due to breakdown of law and order and growing population. Nomadic farming is no longer sustainable. This is why we brought in varieties of nutritious grass from Brazil. In six weeks, the pilot project increased daily productivity per cow from 1.5 to 3.5 litres.
“We are also looking at artificial insemination: bring in the semen of improved cows, inseminate local cow and come up with hybrid: more milk, more beef. We will solve three problems with these capacity-building initiatives: no more moving around with cattle, clashes with crop farmers end and cattle rustling reduced.”
He said the state government’s focus was to create the enabling environment through policies and infrastructure so that investors, such as Vicampro, will come into agriculture.
Another speaker at the conference was Mr. Ade Adefeko, Head, Corporate and Government Relations, Olam Nigeria Limited, who said government had no business in business except as an enabler. He added that a pointer to the situation in Nigeria was the “political staple” rice: “We consume seven million tonnes but produce just 2.7, leaving the 4.3 million gap to importation.”
Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr. Michael Agbogo, Co-Founder and CEO of Vicampro, said apart from trying to meet Nigeria’s potato demand, they have plans for small-holder farmers with the Out-grower Farmers’ Programme and also target creating 30,000 new jobs.