How to benefit from agric investment opportunities in Ondo state

Cocoa
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Ondo state says it is looking for investors and partners who are willing to take advantage of what it describes as “the favourable agricultural conditions” and invest in agriculture within the State.

Ondo is predominantly an agrarian state with about 60 per cent of its labour force engaged in agriculture according to an investor brief by the State government, which also states 80 per cent of the land in the State is arable and can be utilized for lucrative and commercial agriculture. The document breaks down areas of potential investment into headings such as Cash crops, Food crops, Forestry, and Fishery.

Cash crops

Opportunities in Cocoa

Ondo state according to the investor brief first published in August 2017, is the largest cocoa producer in Nigeria responsible for over 40 per cent of all cocoa export. The State is in cocoa production partnerships with institutions and multilaterals such as International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), USAID, French Association of International Development of Exchange of Food, Agricultural Products and Techniques among others.

The State has also embarked on a Cocoa Revolution Project that is targeted at rehabilitating moribund cocoa plantations established on a 2,000-hectare land. The project is ultimately aimed at boosting cocoa production and introducing new premium hybrid cocoa seedlings that are disease resistant and harvestable in 18 months as opposed to 5-6 years.

There are vast opportunities for cocoa production and processing for local and foreign consumption. With the help of the Cocoa Revolution Project and short gestation time of the improved seedlings, investors would be able to turn over profits from cocoa within a shorter period of time.

Opportunities in Oil Palm

Ondo State is currently in partnership with Agro Bayu, a Malaysian firm to revolutionize all oil plantations located within the State. The targeted annual oil palm produce is 320,000 metric tonnes. There are three major players in the oil palm industry in State: Okitipupa Oil Palm Company Plc., Ore-Irele Oil Palm Company Limited and Araromi-Ayesan Oil Palm Limited.

The State is looking for opportunities to partner with private or institutional investors to resuscitate moribund companies and invest in large-scale production and processing.

Opportunities in Rubber

The State has a targeted annual production volume of 60,000 metric tonnes. This industry has one key player: Rubber Estates Company Nigeria Limited located on a 4,500-hectare plantation in Araromi area of Ilaje Local Government in the State. There are huge investment prospects within the rubber industry and an avenue for investors to get a quick return on investment through production and processing of rubber.

Food Crops

Major food crops produced in Ondo include yam, maize, rice, cassava, cocoyam and sugarcane. According to the Investor Brief, Growing International demand for these crops creates a new opportunity for investors.

Opportunities in Cassava

With an output of 3.8 million tonnes in 2016, Ondo State is one of the largest producers of cassava in Nigeria. The State claims to be the most efficient cassava producing state in Nigeria with an average yield of 17.8 ton/Ha (country average is 11 ton/Ha).

Ondo has the potential of becoming a major player in local and international starch, sweeteners, ethanol, HQCF, and dried chips industries.

Forestry

The State is a major source of timber for construction and furniture making in Nigeria. It is endowed with rich forest reserves that have exotic and varied economic trees such as teak, gmelina, indigenous tree species amongst others. To make industry entry easy, the government gives out licenses to participants in that industry to cut and process timber.

The State has a volume target of 6 million cubic metres per annum. There are existing players in this industry such as Premier Timber industries, Wanwood Nigeria Limited amongst others. There are opportunities for local and foreign investors to set up timber processing plants and furniture factories in the State because of the abundant presence of raw materials used in furniture-making within the state.

Opportunities in Aquaculture

The longest coastline in Nigeria, which is 180km, can be found in Ondo State, according to the Investor Brief. In the waters of the State, a variety of exotic fish and seafood such as catfish, croaker, sole snapper, mixed fish, and shrimp can be found. There is a major fishing terminal, Igbokoda Fishing Terminal, which is used for fishing in the state. There are opportunities for large scale production of fish fingerlings, fish production and processing to meet local and foreign demand.

Incentives

There are incentives for investors with interests in agro production and processing as compliant with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission. The incentives include: Tax credit for five years for all production and processing businesses (as provided under Pioneer Status section). Zero tax on agriculture loans with moratorium period of over 18 months and repayment period of over 7 years; Zero import duty on machines and equipment; No capital allowance restrictions; No payment of minimum tax. Up to 75 per cent guarantee for loans granted by commercial banks for agro processing and production as stipulated under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund.

 

CALEB OJEWALE

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