Kolade Saheed Olawale, a castor farmer, based in Offa, Kwara State said that with the needed political will, government can reduce unemployment by 50 percent if adequate support is provided towards castor farming.
Olawale, who specializes on castor planting and processing, pointed out that castor is an uncommon cash crop with a lot of residual income, adding that it is also a crude oil plant that can boost economy of Nigeria by more than 50 percent.
Speaking with BusinessDay in a telephone interview, he stated that Nigeria farmers cannot meet industrial needs of castor oil in the next 50 years.
According to him, castor is not prone to theft like other crops and it can be used to address the issue of farmers and herders clash in this country.
Castor leaves he said are highly toxic thus, herdsmen avoid it like a plague because their cattle would die after eating leaves.
“It is a tropical crop and so the world comes to Africa to look for it. It has over 3,000 uses. It is uncommon because we know next to nothing about it, yet it is living with us, right inside our homes and cars,” he said.
“I stumbled on castor, I studied and researched, even went to seminars and workshops on it, now I have my castor farm running,” Olawale said.
“If Nigeria is spending a whooping sum of N28 billion on castor oil…then, that is where I want to be, targeting a percentage of that total amount as my profit annually and you can do the same,” Olawale added.
Explaining further, he described the crop as perennial and very dependable, pointing out that it does not grow in temperate or cool regions of the world.
“It is a rugged crop and does not need too much of attention, castor plants only needs 4 rainfalls in all of it gestation period. One hectare gives 1 – 1½ tons. Current market price per tonne is between N320 – N350 thousand,” he disclosed.
Olawale therefore called on youths to rise up to the challenge, stressing that all of us cannot get green collar jobs and that every one cannot be a government worker.
He equally called on government to invest big on castor processing company in the state and empower the youths by providing mechanical equipment for farming, assuring that with these, there would be a better life for the farmers, the society at large and as well; there will be increase in the Internal Generating Revenue (IGR).
SIKIRAT SHEHU, Ilorin