It was the Afrobeat icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti (of blessed memory) who promised that should he be elected as Nigeria’s president, he would kick-start a policy to encourage all adult Nigerians to go back to the farm. Well, as history played out he did not live long enough to see his dreams come into fruition. It is gratifying to note however, that increasing emphasis has been placed by the past and current administrations towards Nigeria’s economic diversification from oil. Agriculture and the modern one at that would actively attract and engage the physical and intellectual resources of our youth would also act as one of the most viable options to oil.
Nonetheless, there are several literate Nigerians taking up the gauntlet and adding a good dose of creativity to channel their money, energy and time into technologically-driven farming. Amongst these are the brains behind Xtralarge Farms with the office located at Iyana Iyesi, Ota, Ogun State. With a virile Vision to: ‘Raising a generation of passionate farmers’, its mission is to feed the entire continent of Africa with food items that are of high international quality and boast of the much-needed nutritional attributes.
Its vast spectrum of operations run across crop and animal farming, agric investments, food production, land sales for farming and residential purposes Others include training programs, farm start- ups and management and general agricultural practices. Quite unique is the fact that the investor owns the land for life! Indeed, at Xtralarge farms one can make a foray into farming without necessarily getting involved in the day-to-day processes.
For instance, its Smart Farmers Package promises 20 per cent profit on investment every six months. To begin with, one could obtain a cell (1 plot), a Slot ( 1 acre) or a colony that occupies 1 acre of land. With N100,000 cost of investment on one cell, N300,000 for one Slot or N1 million for a colony, the investor would smile to the bank every half a year with fore stated profits.
These costs of investment take good care of land lease, farm management and maintenance, procurement of seedling as well as the preparation of land for farming. Others include irrigation charges, wages and salaries for manual labour, transportation and marketing cost of the harvested produce.
Furthermore, the Super Farmers Package of N100, 000 per allocation involves farming that takes a much longer period of 24 months or two years for harvest to take place but a 100 per cent interest is promised. These include animal husbandry such as the rearing of snails, turkey, poultry and grass cutters. On the side of agronomy are the planting and management of plantains and cassava. Interestingly again, Xtralarge Farms takes care of the entire farming process while the investor gets on with his core business concerns.
For forward-looking investors, who know the long running benefits in agriculture, Xtralarge Farms also promises a return on investment of N80,000 for N382,000; N400,000 profit on N1.91 million and N800,000 on N3.82million for its Special Project on catfish farming, every five months!
Not done, the agro-company has a School of Practical Agriculture where students are extensively trained in crops farming including vegetables, as well as that of fish, snails and poultry. Others are farm produce processing, risk management, farm consultancy, marketing and sales. And equally inspiring is the invitation of schools for excursion where the students would be exposed to the huge potentials and prospects latent in agriculture; all waiting to be tapped.
In fact, what drew the attention of this writer to Xtralarge Farms was the display of the well-processed and packaged Wonder Meal at the Meet the Farmers Conference held in Lagos back in September. Why is it called that unique name? As attested to by renowned nutritionists Wonder Meal is a tasty treat of its own when it comes to its health-giving qualities to the consumers. Made as a unique blend of local rice and plantain flour, it comes in the category of a ‘swallow food’ that keeps one light even if one has consumed a large portion of it.
Nutritionally, it is high in fibre content which aids bowel movement, effective against constipation. Since the food is not retained in an undigested form for long in the belly it is good for those who want to watch their weight. Possessing appreciable amounts of calcium, equivalent to that in milk and magnesium, this meal guarantees strong bones and is effective against osteoporosis, which is the weakening of bones, especially for people in old age. It is also beneficial to children for their mental acuity.
Rich in vital vitamins such as A, B6 and C, consumers would be delighted with clear vision, better glowing skin complexion and reduction of anaemeic conditions as well as d boosts the body’s immunity against diseases. Wondermeal when taken along with dark-green vegetables soup is credited to increase libido, more so because of its purity in preparation.
Made in its natural form there are no chemical additives aside the minerals and vitamins. There are no preservatives, sweeteners, flavours or colouring agents. All these make it safe for human consumption. These are the factors that have increased the patronage for its products such as Xtralarge fine gari, palm oil, catfish, ofada rice, brown rice, beans, chicken and natural honey.
In all honesty, Nigeria needs a move away from the focus on white collar jobs for young graduates. There should be a determined drive towards engaging many of them in various aspects of farming. To do this, nothing stops universities from encouraging their undergraduates to venture in either agronomy or animal husbandry, even if it is on a medium or small scale while in school.
Nothing should stop a well articulated plan between governments, related agencies, such as the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, research institutes, and the private sector from adopting what Xtralarge Farms has brought to Nigeria’s Food Security table.
If, for instance, there are integrated farms of this nature under the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in all the six geo-political zones Nigerians would soon reap from their immense benefits. Crude oil resources are time- bound but agricultural potentials and practices are self -sustaining and longer lasting.
Ayo Oyoze Baje