By Mohammad Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) — Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh says, diversification of the country’s economy from oil to agriculture will remain the administration’s top priority.
He was speaking through a Director in the Ministry, Obina George Opera, at the ground breaking ceremony of multi-million dollars Olem poultry and hatchery plant in Kaduna – expected to be the largest in sub-sharan Africa.
“This administration will promote all year round agricultural activities and agriculture will no longer be seasonal. We will revamp dams across the nation for irrigations” Ogbeh said.
The Minister praised Governor Nasir El-rufai’s of Kaduna State for his efforts, saying his investment drive has started yielding fruits, by attracting major players to the state.
Ogbeh however challenged Olam to embark on research to find vaccine against Avian Influenza and other poultry related diseases.
Governor El-Rufai, who performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Olam Integrated Feed Mill and Poultry project said the project was not about the size of the facility, but jobs that would be created in building and running the poultry project.
According to him, the return of vibrant economic activity, and the reduction of poverty will drive prosperity and reduce the divisions that became pronounced.
“I am delighted to welcome you all to this ground-breaking operation for the largest agro-allied investment project in Kaduna State. We acknowledge the confidence that the Olam group is displaying in the soundness of our policies and in the prospects of Kaduna State by choosing to site this USD 150m poultry project here.
“When I led a delegation from the Kaduna State Government to Olam’s headquarters in Singapore for discussions with their senior management in September last year, we went with a clear message that Kaduna is open for business, and that the government views the promotion of investments as vital for the realisation of inclusive growth and shared prosperity. Olam was persuaded, and they have pleasantly surprised us by the sheer scale of the investment project they have embarked on.
“Thanks to Olam, Kaduna State will be host to the largest poultry farm with integrated feedmill in sub-Saharan Africa. The farmers that have an expanded market for their grains through the demand from the feed mill and other value-chain activities that are stimulated.
“We are today taking another significant step in advancing our governance agenda to create jobs and improve life chances for the people of Kaduna State. Amidst the challenges that confront us, we are drawing attention to the opportunities that abound. Kaduna State has comparative advantage in agriculture and mining; the government is delighted that many investors agree that we in deed offer a decent business proposition.
” Others are beginning discussions on new projects. We hope that the projects announced will be coming on stream with similar promptness like Olam’s. The government of Kaduna State gratefully acknowledges and thanks all the companies that are supporting our quest to develop Kaduna State” El-Rufa’i said.
Also speaking, Country Head, Olam Nigeria, Mukul Mathur, said the poultry project would produce one million day old chicks weekly when completed.
Mathur added that the feed mill capacity of 300,000 tonnes per annum will offer competitive price and specially formulated feeds for local poultry.