Nigerians home and abroad has been called upon to invest massively in commercial agricultural practices in order to position the country as a serious agricultural nation.
Seun Edun, Executive Director, Commercial of Agro Park Development, an agricultural asset management Company in an interview said that Nigerians must begin to embrace commercial agriculture if the government drive to boost its non-oil revenue can be acheived.
“ Subsistence farming largely practicing through which it cannot benefit maximally from the vast arable land the nation is blessed with”
He said his company which has been helping Nigerians at home and in the diapora to invest in the agriculture sector of the economy will continue to create agricultural commodities investment portfolios by offering for sale farmland on our farm estates to the open market, and world class farm management services to all our farmland owners by cultivating their farmlands, secure farm produce off-take agreements with food producing companies like Tiger Foods and guaranteeing their returns on investments.
On the motivation behind the business, Edun continued that, the company has to assist the country by providing intervention to salvage the vast arable land wasting away in Nigeria.
“According to a United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation report, almost 38 million hectares of farmland are wasting away in Nigeria. We found out that the leading food manufacturing companies in Nigeria basically import the farm produce required as inputs in their production processes.
“In a bid to correct this anomaly, we set-up our Farm Estate model to cultivate farm produce specifically as inputs for food producing companies starting with the cultivation of local spices and herbs as import substituted inputs to Food producing companies manufacturing Food condiments and seasonings.
According to him the vision of the intervention is to “Revolutionize Agricultural Practices and our mission is to lead a new era of agriculture Investments, our key philosophy in driving these is precedent on our belief to optimize the performances of farmland investments that are best identified and managed through the integration of agricultural and financial expertise and best practices to yield competitive returns for our individual and institutional investors.”
Edun however categorised the achievements of the organisation into two. “Our achievement so far can be categorised in two folds 1) In less than a year we have cultivated various spices and herbs on about 200hectares of farmland portfolios for our subscribers at quite attractive returns and we are expanding rapidly, we aim to have under our management over 1,000hectares of spices and herbs farmland portfolios on our Farm estate and over 5,000hectares of support farms/out-growers by the end of 2018. 2) With our ever increasing harvest yields of these local spices & herbs, we have helped give our produce off-takers a lot of foreign exchange savings from their previously imported substitutes needed for manufacturing food condiments & seasonings.”
On big players in food processing industry relocating from Nigeria, Edun said his company is positioning to change the ugly narrative.
“The critical constraints to the food processing industry in Nigeria is the availability and aggregation of the farm produce they require as feedstock or inputs in their production processes, APDC is leading the change to this scenario by promoting Farming clusters through our Farm Estate model and also our Out-grower scheme to aid easy aggregation of the desired quantities and qualities of farm produce required by the food processing industry,” he said.
“We also aim to solve other attendant infrastructure constraints to the food processing industry by developing our Food Industrial Park (FIP) with world class infrastructure for agricultural value chain business activities these will help promote and create many SMEs in the food processing industry,” he explained.
Proffering solution to the problems in the agricultural sector in Nigeria, Edun who stressed that the sector has been in comatose since due to lack of evolvement, said, only investments can bring about the need change.
“ we at Agro Park have set-out to lead in the Agricultural Sector, by providing reliable process to channel Investments into Agriculture, offering cleared and prepared farmland and world class farm management services.