Agriculture has taken a dramatic turnaround in Nigeria, as attention is being shifted from petroleum in the name of diversification, another sector with the potential to revive and sustain the nation’s economy is the agricultural sector, creating jobs and making millionaires of entrepreneurs who dare to go into the business.
Prior to the discovery of crude oil in the 50’s, agriculture was the backbone of the nation’s economy. In those days, it was the order of the day; Nigeria was known to be a country with fertile land for various agricultural products. The days of bags of cocoa product in the west, groundnut pyramids in the north and palm oil drums in the east, what about timber beans, cassava, yam, soya beans, sesame, maize, timber, cattle rearing, etc., to mention a few.
The proceeds that was realized from this sector were used to achieve great feats, which can still be seen today, the cocoa house in Ibadan (southwest Nigeria), the then Western Nigeria Television (W.N.T.V now NTA Ibadan) the first television station in Africa, Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service (W.N.B.S) first in Nigeria to launch a commercial radio service, the free education scheme in the western region etc. to mention a few.
However, after the discovery of oil in commercial quantity in Oloibiri on Sunday, 15th of January 1956, agriculture which plays a major role in providing employment for over 70% of Nigeria population was relegated to the back sit of the federal government’s attention hence, suffering a terrible setback.
However, luck has smiled on the forgotten hero as the fall of oil price in the world market dealt a heavy blow on the nation’s income, making the country experience economic recession, and forcing the federal and the state government to look elsewhere for solution in the bid to sustain the nation’s economy.
In the midst of this hullaballoo, the Ogun state government in a bid to re-assure the citizens of the state to its commitment to making the state the most preferred investment destination in Nigeria and the most thriving industrial hub in Africa, has spread its tentacles to agriculture as the means not just to generate income for the state at this time of economic crisis, but to also provide food for the people, and as well create employment opportunities for its citizenry.
In playing its part to develop agriculture in line with the Federal Government Agricultural Promotion Policy (2016-2020), the state government is set to acquire 100,000 hectares of agricultural land for allocations for genuine and sincere investors to promote commercial farming in the state.
The government is also keen on intensifying horticultural crops production using green house technology; promote open field cultivation through installation of irrigation facilities for all-season production with particular emphasis on tomatoes, pepper and other vegetables.
The government also plans to develop arable and perennial exportable crops through the establishment and expansion of Cocoa, Oil Palm, Cotton, Kola and Cashew plantations; produce maize, rice seeds and cassava cuttings for sale to farmers at highly subsidized rates; and invest in poultry livestock and fishery to boost protein supply to the people.
In furtherance of its commitment, the Ogun State government rolled out new intervention programmes especially access to credit for farmers through Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE OGUN STATE
The following points illuminates why Ogun state is your best option for agricultural investments.
Weather condition: Ogun state has a very friendly weather in terms of agriculture; the state enjoys a large amount of rainfall throughout the year. So, no worries on constructing irrigation to prevent your crops from drying out. Good sunlight and every other factor that makes the crops grow well be it perennial, annual or arable crops such as cocoa, rice, cassava, palm oil, tomatoes etc. livestock farming and forestry are not left out as well.
Land: Ogun state has loads of land that are very cheap and easy to acquire, in addition to this, the government has created offshore enquiries on availability of land and processes, it has also speed up the time of processing papers on land matters.
Infrastructure: Infrastructure across the state has improved, reconstruction of old roads and bridges and the construction of new ones has made movement from one part of the state to another easy, this has made it easy to transport goods from the farm to the desired location.
Industrial presence: The emerging industries in the state is also an added advantage for the farmers, instead of undergoing the stress of taking your goods to the market, you can as well liaise with some of these industries and become their sole supplier of the farm product that they need for their products, e.g. if you are into cocoa farming, there are companies that produces beverages or chocolates i.e Nestle Nigeria, and if you are into forestry, there are paper making companies in the state that you can sell your products to. Also, the presence of industries and companies means that the population in the state has increased thereby, making the demands for goods to go higher.
Proximity to markets: Ogun state shares boundary with Lagos state which has a large market for farm produce, the state also shares boarder with Republic of Benin, this give you a chance to get your goods into the ECOWAS market easily.
Security: Over the years, securing the lives and properties of Ogun state residents have been a thing of concern, but the current administration has improved on that, and still poised on improving in this area. The government is working assiduously to empower the various security outfits in the state in order to make the state safe for indigenes and visitors.