• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Startup firm advocates increase in agric activities to revamp economy

Startup firm advocates increase in agric activities to revamp economy

As Nigeria continues to witness fluctuations that have impacted the economy significantly, a young but very dynamic company has advocated increased economic activities, especially in agriculture and its various value chain.

The firm, known as Mama Hannah’s Limited, says it embodies the change in economy with its multi-faceted approach to addressing challenges. Specialising in rubber and oil palm cultivation, the company believes it will not only contribute to the nation’s agricultural output, but also serve as a vital link in the supply chain of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).

Olabode Fayemiro, Founder/CEO of the company, recalls that when the company opened for business in November 2022, it set out a plantation located in the heart of Okitipupa, Ondo State, adding that, today, the company playing a key role in agriculture to help the country’s economy.

“In the 1960s, the agricultural sector was the most important in terms of contributions to domestic production, employment and foreign exchange earnings. The situation remained almost the same three decades later with the exception that it is no longer the principal foreign exchange earner, a role now being played by oil,” Fayemiro recalled.

He noted that, contrary to popular belief, agriculture has consistently outstripped petroleum in contributing to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), pointing out that figures from a 2022 report reveal that the agricultural sector contributed a staggering 25.88 percent to the national GDP, compared to the oil sector’s modest 7.24 percent.

“Employment in Nigeria mirrors the prominence of agriculture, with the sector providing over 30 percent of job opportunities. Millions of Nigerians depend on agriculture as their primary source of income despite a number of obstacles, such as restricted access to arable land and climate change. Not just conventional farming practices are at work here, agriculture is changing and providing a range of professional opportunities, including emerging industries like Agritech,” he said.

Nigeria is home to 70.8 million hectares of agricultural land, of which 34 million hectares are arable. Crop production, constituting over 90 percent of the agricultural GDP. The main crops in the country are staples like cassava, yam, maize, rice, and millet; cash crops like cocoa, rubber, cotton, and oil palm contribute to the agricultural diversity of the country.

Mama Hannah’s Limited, according to the founder, is at the forefront of this agricultural renaissance. With a current plantation size of 40 hectares, the company has set its sights on expanding to 100 hectares by the end of 2024. Specializing in rubber and oil palm cultivation, the company not only contributes to Nigeria’s agricultural output, but also fuels various industries, from cosmetics to biofuels.

Nigeria is a world leader in the production of cassava and yam, accounting for nearly 20 percent and 70 percent of global production respectively. Despite these achievements, cash crop production remains under-exploited. While demand for cash crop products such as rubber and oil palm soars, challenges such as inadequate finance and infrastructure hinder sector growth.

Recognising the need for agricultural innovation, Mama Hannah’s uses modern technologies like artificial intelligence to enhance productivity and profitability for small scale farmers. By leveraging these advancements, the company empowers local farmers and rural development, amplifying the sector’s impact on Nigeria’s economy.

According to Fayemiro, the company embarks on its journey, it carries with it the spirit of Nigerian agriculture—resilient, innovative, and ripe with potential. Through sustainable practices and technological integration, the company not only cultivates crops, but also hope for a brighter and agriculturally prosperous future for Nigeria.