July 25, 2024

‘Prioritise Investment in Agriculture,’ US Envoy Urges FG

To mitigate the prevailing food crisis and heightened hunger in Nigeria, the country United States has charged  the Federal Government to prioritise investment in agriculture.

The US Charge d’Affaires in Nigeria, David Greene, gave the charge on Wednesday, at Ipao Ekiti, in the Ikole Council area of Ekiti State during a visit  by the US Embassy, alongside the US Consul General, Will Stevens, to the 5,000 hectares Agbeyewa Farms. 

Speaking, he said that leveraging on abundant agricultural potentials remained a crucial way to bolster food security and fast-track Nigeria’s socio-economic development including the creation of job opportunities.

He therefore urged Nigeria to harness its abundant arable lands, fertile soil and favourable weather endowments to provide food for the citizenry and as well export.

The diplomat explained that the US government, in the last few years, has invested in the development of agriculture to enhance food security in the country, especially Ekiti state. He added that farmers must be encouraged to go to the farm and reduce their post-harvest losses.

Commending the chairman of Cavista Holdings, a private initiative, John Olajide, for his commitment and dedication to the development of agriculture with the investment in Cassava, Yam, and Maize on the farm, he called on the people to support the initiative in the interest of the community.

He urged the federal and state governments to take a cue from Agbeyewa Farms which had greatly tapped into the economic potentials of large-scale agriculture. 

He said:  “We are aware of the food security challenge and the post-harvest losses in Nigeria. With Investments and leadership like this, I think the lives of a lot of Nigerians can be changed for the better.

“We know that agriculture in Nigeria has lots of incredible potential. The US will do a lot in the sector of course, but I can’t say precisely what we might do in the future. We got investment in Ikun Dairy Farms and cocoa production in Ekiti and the rest.

“USAID sees the future and is offering a lot across board to the Nigerian producers collaborating with donors including the World Bank and others. With the kind of economic innovation we see here, we need to work together with the people of Nigerians to benefit the people,” he said.

Chairman of Cavista Holdings, Mr John Olajide, said that the multimillion naira investment in agribusiness was to ensure adequate supply of foods, improve nutrition, create jobs and foster community development.

Olajide said that the crops of interest to the agro-allied farm were cassava, maize, and yam among others, saying that plans were afoot to commence the cassava revolution project in partnership with the Ekiti State Government to meet the rising demand for cassava chips in the export market and reduce post-harvest losses by at least 60 per cent.

He said, “Agbeyewa Farm is meant to create value and transform lives. The main reason why we invested in Ekiti State is to create jobs and create opportunities for a lot of people.

“We are doing experiments here with cassava to help farmers improve their yields. Those seedlings were given to the farmers to improve their lives and we incorporated the farmers into our outgrowers in our farm and do up to 10 hectares and get better yield.

“One important thing is farmers struggle with access to the market. We’re working on the early stage of the cassava revolution project in partnership with the state government where we will get at least 100 hectares of cassava cultivated in the state.

“It will reduce the over 60 per cent post-harvest loss, our goal is to eliminate post-harvest loss so that Ekiti farmers can create wealth through farming”, he added.

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