Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Nigeria to get $11million investment in greenhouse project

The federal government has said it will welcome the proposed investment of about US$11Million Green House Vegetable project into the agricultural sector by Wells San-Carlos Green House Farms Limited.
At a meeting between the Ministry of Agriculture and representatives of the Mexican firm, Wells San-Carlos Green House Farms Limited the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, said over 45 million hectares of land in Nigeria lays uncultivated. He solicited the support of the Mexican investor in reaching out to other investors in Mexico on the investment opportunities in the agricultural sector in Nigeria.
He said Mexico supplies 60% of fruits to Europe making them a viable partner in the development of the agric sector in Nigeria. Ogbe therefore requested the investor to help in the training of young people on extension programmes or establish a school to train farm managers.
The Minister encouraged the investor to consider investing on plantain, bananas, and snails, saying that apart from the 200million population of Nigeria, the country still feeds about 70 million people outside the country.  He however advised the investor to consider the use of liquid fertilizer for its Greenhouses and assured of the ministry’s support towards the success of the project.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, expressed his delight having noted that the project would create 85,000 jobs and commended the level of commitment of the investor.
Also, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, solicited for support from the ministry on Dam and irrigation facilities; Guarantees for all Foreign Direct Investments on agriculture, Work Permit for the expatriates coming for the project, Training on farm management and Fertilizers for the Greenhouses.
In his remarks the Chairman, Wells San-carlos Agro Farms Limited, Dr. Idahosa Okunbo, assured the ministry of his total commitment and that of his foreign partners in ensuring that the project, which would be sited  in Benin, has the blessings of the rural communities and their leaders.
He said the project would create job opportunities for the youths, boost food production and reduce Nigeria’s import bill in the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has taken delivery of 12 high yielding varieties of rice seeds from the Republic of Guinea to increase rice production in the country and diversify the economy from crude oil to Agriculture.
Making the donation on behalf of Guinea, the Charge D’Affairs of Nigeria to the Republic, Amb. Jerry Hassan said the varieties of rice seeds would help boost rice production in Nigeria since they can be cultivated three times a year.
The ambassador explained that his decision to solicit for these varieties of rice seeds from Guinea was informed by the commitment of the Present Administration to diversify the economy from oil to other sectors, particularly Agriculture.
Receiving the seeds on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Victor Onyeneke, expressed appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Guinea and affirmed that the high yielding varieties of rice seeds would reduce the cost of production for rice farmers with an increase in yield.
Dr. Onyeneke who is the Desk Officer, Rice Value Chain, explained that these varieties of rice seeds would be handed over to relevant agencies of the Ministry namely; the Agricultural Quarantine Services; National Agricultural Seed Council and National Cereal Research Institute for analysis and confirmation.

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