BusinessDay

NSIA, firm commit to strengthening Nigeria’s agricultural production

…targets maize yields of 10 tonnes per hectare by 2025

The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority in partnership with Pandagric Novum has reiterated commitment to strengthen agricultural production in Nigeria.

Pandagric Novum is the flagship project under the joint venture agreement executed by NSIA and Signature Agri Investments in 2018, to establish an agriculture focused fund for the development of large-scale integrated projects across Nigeria.

Bruce Spain, Managing Director, Pandagric Novum, speaking during a media briefing in Abuja on Friday, said that the agriculture company is poised to redefine the future of agriculture in Nigeria through its innovative farming practices that have been developed to guarantee increased yields and food sufficiency.

According to him, Pandagric Novum, an integrated feed and food manufacturing company was established with the vision to contribute to supporting the delivery of Nigeria’s food security objectives and strengthening the agriculture value chain in the country using an integrated approach.

“As a company, we have developed crop cultivation and management protocols for achieving the highest yields. Yield is the key driver for farming profitability and with increased profit, the industry will attract more individuals and companies resulting in wide-range growth.

“We have invested heavily in testing and trials over the years and have discovered improved crop nutrition practices to get the best growth and yield results,” he said.

Noting that Nigeria currently produces about 11.6 million tonnes of maize annually with an average yield of 1.69 tonnes per hectare, Spain said that the goal of the company is to achieve over 10 tons per hectare by 2025.

“A national average yield increase of only 1 tonne per hectare would not only result in self sufficiency and food security as a country but export earnings of about $1 billion per annum.

“However, if we can double our national average of maize from 1.5 tons per hectare to 3 tons per hectare using good genetics and farming practices, then we will double our national output. Nigeria very quickly will become a net exporter of maize and create food security. In addition, we will reduce the negative environmental impact associated with opening and farming more land. We aim to get these practices into the farming communities and start to see yields and agricultural output rise in Nigeria,” he said.

The media briefing themed: ‘Redefining Agriculture in Nigeria for the Future’, is part of pre-event activities in the run up to the official commissioning of the company in Nasarawa State.

The commissioning is under the auspices of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), and Signature Agri Investment, an investment portfolio agency based in the Netherlands.

Uche Orji, Managing Director, NSIA in his remarks said, “Agriculture is a key focus sector for the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and an important sector for the Nigerian economy, with high potential for employment generation, poverty alleviation and ultimately food security.”
Read also: NSIA invests $100m to expand healthcare in 3 states, 5 medical centres

Uche said though the sector has largely been dominated by subsistence farming in the past, the NSIA strongly believes that with improved modern methods, seedlings and better weather forecasting methods, agricultural yields can continue to grow.

“The NSIA as an investment institution of the Federal Government has a mission to play a leading role in driving sustained economic development for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“We have been very active in agriculture, the sector is an important sector and we approach it through different means. One of our first investments was in the fund for agriculture financing which was done in collaboration with the ministry of Agriculture; the second is the presidential fertilizer initiative.

“The NSIA aims to develop the Nigerian agriculture sector enough to ensure increased production towards the satisfaction of local demand, as well as the development of requisite infrastructure to ensure improved product quality, facilitate import substitution and provide a driver of foreign exchange earnings from the exportation of agricultural produce.”

“Pandagric is a catalytic demonstration project, we bought something that was very small and made it very big. Agriculture is difficult but everybody is struggling to make money out of it and that is actually the issue we are having in the agricultural sector across Nigeria, but what we have done is to show that we can do it well,” he said.

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