Thursday, March 06, 2014

Nigeria: Farming For Billionaires

Call it a new dawn for agriculture in Nigeria and you just are right, as farming is no longer a venture reserved for the poor in Nigeria. 
Although this has been at the heart of the frequent sermons by the current Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, since he assumed leadership of the Ministry, it has often been regarded as political. During the week, it, however, became clear that the preaching of the Minister may have caught the heart of individual billionaires and corporate entities, who have taken the bold step of staking significant part of their resources and time into agriculture.

 Last week Monday, chief executive officers (CEOs) and representatives of private and government-supported businesses converged in Abuja where the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group (NABG) was inaugurated. At the end of the high-profile meeting, Sani Dangote, an accomplished businessman with investments in key sectors of the economy including manufacturing, banking, oil services and commercial agriculture, emerged as protem president of the team. 

That event marked the climax of a concerted drive by the Ministry to drag private sector players into agriculture, an approach the Minister said was deliberate. Speaking during the meeting held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Adesina said, “The essence is to grow the agriculture sector using private sector, focus on value chains for all commodities, and connect farms to mills, aggregators, storage, improved logistics, processors and value addition. “We will no longer manage poverty with agriculture; we will use agriculture to create the future millionaires and billionaires of Nigeria.” 
From here

The article goes on at some length with no mention of farmers, crops, animals, food or anything seemingly connected with working on the land, ie farming, so whilst ' farming is no longer a venture reserved for the poor in Nigeria' one wonders how those poor farmers would react were they to read it. What share of the wealth will they be party to? JS

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