…As investment in agribusiness hits $500bn in 4 years
By Steve Agbota [email protected] 08033302331
MINISTER of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has expressed the need to transform existing abattoirs, warning that continued slaughter of pregnant animals would lead to more loss of foetuses worth millions of naira.
This is as about $500 billion investment has been attracted into agribusiness in the last four years in the country.
Speaking recently at the National Council of Agriculture in Kano, Ogbeh advised that slaughtering of pregnant animals should stop in Nigeria.
According to him, the tremendous annual loss incurred in the process of slaughtering pregnant cows have become unacceptable and must stop. He said that government would discourage such practices nationwide and save foetuses worth millions of naira in the next couple of years.
Ogbeh stated that, “our abattoirs all over Nigeria will be transformed structurally and functionally. The rules of abattoir operations will be strictly enforced. The animals will be slaughtered under the supervision of professionals such that the hides and skins, hoofs and horns could be recovered and processed appropriately.”
This, he said, is expected to revive the ailing leather industry, while providing business opportunities for renderers who convert the other wastes to wealth.
In addition, the minister promised to transform the rural economy through the new programme called Labour-Intensive Farming Enterprise (LIFE), under which some support would be provided for rural farming communities to enable them earn incomes. This, it is expected, would boost the economy and ensure inclusive growth in rural areas, which have been neglected for long.
Speaking at the meeting, the Vice President of Dangote Group, Sani Dangote, observed that, “there has been some progress on Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPC) and Nigerian Incentive-based Risk Sharing in Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).”
He declared that the Nigerian Agribusiness leadership Group (NABG) is a government and private sector partnership to ensure right policies that would boost agriculture. He noted that $500 billion investment has been attracted into agribusiness in the last four years.
Dangote noted that there have been problems in agribusiness investment, such as land, finance, infrastructure and price stabilisation, stating that, “until we decide that agriculture is no more subsistence, there will be no progress in agriculture.”
He promised, however, that as NABG, “we must work with business people. There is need for priorities, ensuring stability of primary production and agro-processing.” He added that, “until the producers can make money, agriculture will remain subsistence. From our own perspective, agriculture is greater than oil.”
From NABG, Emmanuel Ijewere, explained that “we are very pleased with the minister’s candour.” He expressed delight in the disagreement of the minister with Customs Service over the tariff being charged on importation of greenhouse equipment, stating that it ought to attract zero duty, stressing that NABG was in support of the minister’s initiatives.
Also speaking, the Kano State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Nasiru Gawuna, said his governor has agreed to host other states’ commissioners in a forum to discuss avenues of cooperation. The commissioner called on other states “to partner and not to compete.”
On his part, the Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje, had earlier disclosed that 729 agricultural extension workers have been employed to carry out extension services in the state.