Why Agric, Food Processing Is Key To Nigeria’s Wealth, By Osinbajo
*VP restates FG’s support for farmsteads affected by flood
*Launches Olam Agri’s “Seeds for the Future Foundation/Education Grant”
Aside from the extractive industry, agriculture and food processing especially, the export of manufactured and processed food, is really where the potential and wealth of Nigeria lie.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, spoke on Friday in Abuja at the launch of the “Seeds for the Future Foundation/Education Grant”, an initiative of Olam Agri, where he also expressed the Federal Government’s concern over the recent flooding of farmsteads in parts of the country, restating support to the affected farmers.
Prof. Osinbajo commiserated with Olam and other agricultural companies over their losses occasioned by the flooding across the country.
He said “the flooding of the Olam rice farm in Nasarawa State, is obviously a huge loss not just to Olam but also a big blow to food security in our country, as the farm is one of the single largest rice farms in the country.
“We as a government are obliged to work with you to restore that important agricultural resource. And I’m sure that as we engage, we will be able to find the opportunities and ways by which we can assist in bringing that resource back to full service.”
“Only yesterday, the National Economic Council, which I have the privilege of chairing agreed to constitute a special committee on flooding especially as it relates to food security.
“We are going to be looking at all of the ways by which we can work with farms and agricultural companies and how they are affected by flooding. I think that Olam’s situation is one that will come before us and we will consider how exactly not just to support now, but to prevent these sorts of occurrences in the future and of course, how to advise the President on what steps to take,” the VP added.
Praising the work of the agro-based company, the VP said, “let me commend Olam Agri for your hard work and commitment to agriculture and food processing in Nigeria, especially in the areas of Wheat Milling, Rice Farming and Milling, Tomato Farming, Hatchery, and Soya Beans Processing, and your leadership in agriculture export – cocoa beans, cashew nuts and sesame seeds.”
Continuing, the Vice President noted that “one of the very important things that we have learned from the hard work that you have put into agriculture and food processing is that this is really where the potential and the wealth of our country lie, not just in the extractive industry, but more in the agriculture value chain, especially export of manufactured and processed food. We have a very strong advantage and Olam has shown that aside from oil and gas, Olam comes a close second in terms of export.”
On the “Seeds for the Future Programme”, Prof. Osinbajo commended the board and management of Olam Agri, noting that the launch of the programme gives us “several reasons to be hopeful and to celebrate”.
According to the VP, “the seeds you plant by investing in the whole agriculture value chain from research to people, especially disadvantaged women, that has attracted even greater attention leading to the National Productivity Order of Merit Award which was presented to you by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The planting of these seeds shows your strong belief in the future of our country and its innovative and hardworking people. And how it is that the story of our country will ultimately yield fruits of prosperity, peace and decent livelihoods for all.”
The Vice President also noted the company’s “very highly successful and award-winning Wheat Seeds Trial project, which I am told, achieved its first-year milestone of producing 10kg of pre-multiplication wheat seed varieties and was showcased at the UN Climate Summit and nominated for an international grant.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Country Head, Olam Agri, Mr Ashish Pande, said the initiative was the company’s way of deepening its impact in the education sector as it has done in the agricultural sector over the past years.
He said the company will continue to support the Federal Government’s aspiration of developing the agricultural sector by building the value chain to improve food exports as well as create more jobs for Nigerians.
The high point of the occasion was the unveiling of the “Seeds for the Future” memorabilia by the Vice President.