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OER Farms partners UNILORIN to boost agric productivity

OER Farms partners UNILORIN to boost agric productivity

OER Farms Ltd has partnered with the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) on a 21-year land lease agreement to develop a 10,000-hectare mechanised agricultural project that will be managed in line with best industry practice to boost agricultural productivity.

The agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties recently in line with the Federal Government’s agenda on food security.

Improved crop varieties with high yielding cash crops such as maize, soya beans, and cashew are proposed for the project.

Muhammadu Indimi, founder of Oriental Group- the parent company of the farm, while speaking during the signing ceremony in Maiduguri recently remarked that the initiative – a vision of close to half a decade – speaks of his oranisation’s commitment to support macroeconomic growth through sustainable development and opportunities for all.

The project is also designed to develop the capacity of staff of UNILORIN in agricultural research, improve farm practice and develop youth agripreneurs who will give farming a different perspective, promote local Inclusion and enhance economic viability in catchment areas.

“The average yield for a crop like maize by Nigerian farmers is about four tons per hectare, while yields global average yields are up to eight tons per hectare. We are curious about that gap and we aim to close it by exposing local farmers and students to best industry practices as well as providing much-needed support over the next 21 years,” Indimi said in a statement.

“Nigeria can achieve better results and own a robust, thriving agriculture sector with vast export value. We are happy to play our modest role in joining President Muhammadu Buhari on the national food security journey,” he added.

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He stated that the collaboration will add value to the University’s faculty of agriculture by supporting research and exposing students of the institution to the best industry practice in the sector.

Similarly, hands-on farm management experience will encourage graduates to develop entrepreneurial skills, which will further reduce youth unemployment. It is also expected to positively impact smallholder farmers.

The group of companies has a track record of contributing to sustainable development in Nigeria by promoting equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities.

Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, a professor and the vice-chancellor of UNILORIN stressed that developing the agricultural sector is critical for food security, diversification and job creation.

“This is a public-private sector partnership that greatly benefits our students, local farmers, government and nation’s revival of agriculture. It would also attract resources to the University,” he said.

“One feels proud as a Nigerian to have someone like Indimi who champions social, economic and humanitarian causes. We believe this joint venture will achieve phenomenal successes in the sector,” he added.

The next phase of the project development will commence in the first quarter of 2020, with site detailing, soil and hydrology tests as well as obtaining a ten-year historical meteorological data. The information will determine crop options and farming techniques.

It is the goal of both parties that the project will be of value to all beneficiaries, contribute to significant transformation of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, improve crop yield, reduce crop vulnerability as well as increase local and export market potentials.