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Ogun State as Agro-Allied Investment Destination in Nigeria

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Flag off of the 2020 planting season and input distribution for 3500 cassava Anchor Borrowers Programme (abp) nominees by His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Monday, 4th May, 2020.

A Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis of the state’s agricultural production indicates that Ogun State has competitive advantages in the cultivation of food crops such as cassava, plantain, rice, yam, maize and sweet potato, among others and cash crops such as cocoa, oil palm, timbers, kola nuts, cashew and rubber.

Proximity to Lagos, the industrial and commercial capital of Nigeria and by extension Africa, with a population of over 20 million people, relatively stronger purchasing power and international presence, strategically places Ogun State in a very vantage position for agricultural investments, value chain development, and produce exports.

Realising the strength of the state to play significant roles in closing food production gaps and saving the economy of the country from collapse and the foreign exchange crisis associated with food importation, the Dapo Abiodun-led led government has a focus on the sector as a pillar on which the economy of the state could solidly rest.

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The State Agricultural Agenda centres around six (6) key strategic pillars, which include Food Security and Support to Smallholder Farmers; Job Creation through Agricultural Value Chain Opportunities; Nutrition and Food Safety through the promotion of Cultivation, Consumption, and Business in Nutritious and Bio-fortified Foods; Agricultural Industrialization and Industrial Linkage of young people/farmers to Industrial process; Agriculture Hub; Strategic Partnership and Private Sector Engagement to key into Agricultural Policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria, including diversification of the Economy.

The state boasts of about the largest concentration of agro-allied industries, such as cassava-ethanol processors in Agbara, rice factories, egg powder and garri processing factories.

Boosting the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) called “Green Alternative,” which aims, among other things, to tackle core challenges limiting food production and security through import substitution industrialisation, job creation, increased productivity and value chain development, Ogun State government has made deliberate efforts to deepen food production, value chain enhancement and investment-friendly environment for agro-industrialists and smallholder farmers.

Food Security and Farmers Support Systems
In its COVID-19 Agricultural Food Security Response Strategy, Ogun State flagged off the 2020 planting season in March 2020 at the onset of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. This was aimed at mitigating restrictions and challenges imposed on farmers and their households through the lockdowns and associated restricted movement, demand limitation and farm input challenges.

Again, in its Free and Improved Planting Materials Palliative Initiative, 40,000 smallholder farmers were supported by the government with seeds, cassava stems, insecticides and herbicides. This was backed with Fertilizer Palliative Initiative for 10,000 smallholder farmers and continued support to production and processing locations in the food and farm sector in Ogun State.

Presentation of symbolic cheque to 1,065 beneficiaries of CBN/WEMA Bank/NCGA/Ogun state Anchor Borrowers programme at 2020 World Food Day celebration in Ogun State, held on Friday, 16th October, 2020, at the Arcade Ground, Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan

The approach is based on the need to empower smallholder farmers despite the economics of production. The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Samson Odedina, explained: “Before we become self-sufficient in rice production and attain the expectations of our people in this regard, we would need to lend financial support to the growers, as rice production and farming are mainly controlled by the private sector.”

There is a need to empower small-holder farmers, who are proficient in rice production but encumbered by poor productivity as a result of poor inputs, he added. The efforts are yielding fruits, the commissioner said.

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There was a flag off of 2020 dry season rice harvest in March 2020 and wet season rice harvest in August 2020 by state-supported Youth Farmers Groups both covering over 900 hectares. Other milestones include:
*Land preparation in 17 locations for 2,500 unemployed youths/farmers in Cassava Production opportunities.
*Strategic partnership and support to unemployed graduates, international development partners and farmers in large-scale cultivation of rice and cassava in 36 locations in 11 LGAs.

Agricultural linkage programme and job creation
*Strengthening of Ogun State Agricultural Linkage Programme: Over 70,000 registered interests from farmers, including youths and unemployed graduates in Agricultural Value Chain Programmes (AVCP) cut across nine (9) agricultural commodities (Cassava, Maize, Rice, Fishery, Poultry, Cattle, Piggery, Cotton and Oil Palm);
*Linkage of 4,462 participants to inputs and credit to the tune of N700m in the cassava value chain, and 1,065 participants to inputs and credit to the tune of N300M in the rice value chain through the CBN/Ogun State Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
*Linkage of 800 participants to inputs and credit to the tune of N360Million under the Ogun State Government/Federal Government/IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP).
*394 Maize Farmers, 54 Rice Farmers and 21 Poultry Farmers in Ogun State have benefitted from the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) through CBN.

Ogun Broiler Project
The broiler scheme is a flagship project of Ogun State, youth-focused and nutrition-based, with 54 pilot youths successfully completing three cycles of broiler production. Each youth made a profit of N150,000 per cycle for three (3) cycles. 162,000 broilers and 3.24 Metric Tonnes of Broiler Meat were produced.

Prince Abiodun, at the official handover and closing/offtake ceremony of third (final) cycle of the pilot Ogun broiler project held at Odeda Farm Institute on Thursday, 8th October, 2020, said: “I welcome stakeholders to yet another Agricultural event which is in tandem with the Agricultural Agenda of Ogun State Government which include Food Security, Job Creation, Industrialization, Private Sector Partnership and Strategic Partnership with all Agencies in the Food and Farm Sector.

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“… you will recall that the Ogun Broiler Project, whose worthy ambassadors are seated in their full radiance, started first operation on 23rd December 2019, with 54,000 day-old chicks. Our youths ran this first cycle successfully for six weeks, making record breaking achievements of profit, minimum mortality rate possible and good feed conversion rate. This performance in their first outing as young people, who voluntarily embraced Ogun State Agricultural Value Chain Opportunities in Poultry, turned the attention of the whole world to themselves, as role models for youth participation in profitable and exciting agricultural opportunities.

The second cycle of another six weeks, which commenced on 25th March 2020, coincided with pushing forward against all odds to deliver your birds to the off-taker, and how your obligation to the financial anchor has taught other young people good lessons of how to cope with different weather conditions in business.

There are over 9,000 registered interests in the project, and the government has concluded concrete plans to replicate the project in the 20 local government areas of the State

Agricultural Investment Promotion Activities
• The Executive Order on Framework for Responsible and Inclusive Land Intensive Agricultural Investment (FRILIA) was signed by Prince Abiodun on the 25th of March, 2020 to promote and encourage land-based opportunities in the state.
•Agricultural Investment Promotion with over 30 National and International Investors, at different levels of engagement for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the State, targeted at Agricultural Industrialization, Job Creation and Food Security. Such include but not limited to: United Green, United Kingdom; Fan Milk Plc; Arla Foods Denmark; Indorama Fertilizer Ltd, Abuja; Hyst Global Ltd “Okun Rice”, Lagos/Ogun; Patec Foods, Kogi State (Aquaculture); Amobyn Nigeria Ltd, Lagos (Poultry); British American Tobacco Nig. Foundation (Enterprise Development), Tractorise Agro Company Ltd, Lagos; Savannah Concerns Development Company, Abuja; Origin Tech Group Nigeria Ltd, Lagos; CropIT, Lagos etc.
• Expression of interest were received from 300 private firms to partner with Ogun State to provide Farm Mechanization Services, Input Service Delivery and in the Development of key Value Chains which include Cassava, Rice, Fish, Poultry, Cattle, Dairy, among other commodities.

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Strategic Partnerships with National and International Development Agencies
Federal Government/IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), include but not limited to the following milestones:
• 9,048 farmers have been supported with improved production inputs for Rice and Cassava, in Eight (8) participating LGAs of VCDP in the state.
• 6,812 farmers have been trained on good Agronomic practices on Cassava and Rice
• Construction of 20km access roads in Obafemi-Owode, Yewa North and Ijebu North East LGAs.
• Construction of 14 solar-powered water schemes in Ijebu North East, Obafemi-Owode, Yewa North, Ifo, Ijebu East, Odeda and Odogbolu LGAs.
• Construction of four Cassava Processing Centres at Baara, Alapako-Oni, Oke Iyemi and Ayetoro, and Rice Processing Centre in Eggua.
• African Development Bank (Proposed Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone).
World Bank/Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP) for 40,000 farmers in Nine (9) priority value chains (cassava, maize, rice, soybean, tomatoes and pepper, sesame, fishery and poultry).
• Proposed World Bank COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Project;
Proposed World Bank-Assisted Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement (APPEALS) Project;
• EU/GIZ/Federal Government/Lagos State/Ogun State Nigeria Competitiveness Project (NICOP) for 3,000 farmers including youths, in tomato and chilli pepper value chains;
• International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA): Agricultural Technological Innovations and Support to Farming and Related activities, including technical backstopping, demonstration farms and enterprise development in Ogun State
• Central Bank of Nigeria (Cassava 5-Star Programme, Cocoa Development Initiative and Oil Palm Expansion Programme); Federal Government/Ogun State Government/IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Programme for over 3,000 farmers in Eleven (11) Local Government Areas of Ogun State.

Partnership with Fan Milk
The state, through its Ministry of Agriculture, and in partnership with Fan Milk Plc, intends to kick off a dairy backwards integration project for the improvement of the agricultural value chain and enhancement of local dairy production.

Fan Milk is planning to develop a flagship dairy farm (including pasture development and the launch of a Danone training institute for local farmers) within the Odeda Farm Institute in the Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Fan Milk is one of Nigeria’s leading fast-moving consumer goods companies offering healthy and nutritious dairy food products. Mr Olayinka Akinkugbe, the Chairman of the Board, said the intention to partner with Ogun State followed the company’s close observation of the laudable efforts the Ogun State Government has put into supporting and partnering with local and foreign investors. Hence, the partnership with the Ogun State is to harness the social and economic potentialities of participating in local dairy production.

WORLD BANK/FG APPEALS project in OGUN
Further on strategic partnership, on October16, 2020, the state received some project team members of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture/World Bank Assisted Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement (APPEALS) project, who were on a Scoping Mission to Ogun State.

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The APPEALS Project is designed to improve the agricultural productivity of small and medium commercial farmers and increase value addition of priority agricultural value chains such as rice, cassava, cocoa, maize, aquaculture, and others. The project targets about 10,000 project beneficiaries, mostly farmers and cooperative societies, with 35% of them to be women and youths. Prince Abiodun recently approved Ogun State’s participation in the FMARD/World Bank Assisted APPEALS expansion project.

OGUN-CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme for 1,065 Young Cassava Farmers
On specific cassava intervention, the CBN/Wema Bank/Nigeria Cassava Growers Association/Ogun State Anchor Borrowers Programme linked the third batch of 1,065 Young Cassava Production farmers to credit amounting to N234,590,745 (N220,273 per farmer) across the 20 LGAs of the state, on 8th October, 2020. These farmers have also been linked to inputs (herbicides, agrochemicals and improved planting materials), and guaranteed markets.

This third batch release was for young people, whom Prince Abiodun had approved land clearing for in Nine (9) locations namely: Apojola, Odeda LGA; Asa, Ewekoro LGA; Ojoowo/Ijebu Igbo, Ijebu North LGA; Omogbawojo, Odogbolu LGA; Pagbonrin, Imeko-Afon LGA; Itoro, Yewa South LGA; Ojere Village, Obafemi Owode LGA; Ikenne Dairy Farm, Ikenne LGA; and Obafemi Town, Obafemi Owode LGA.
Other registered farmers, including young people, who are yet to be linked to credit under the Anchor Borrowers Programme are advised to follow, and regard updates only from the authorized source, which is, Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture. Further enquiries can be made by SMS only to 07035524929 or 09037909008; or via email: ogunabp@gmail.com

Also, work is in progress for farmers who are close to land clearing sites in Afon Farm Estate, Imeko-Afon LGA and Atoba, Remo North LGA. These have been verified by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with physical and digital geotagging. Meanwhile, land clearing and preparation, verifications and geo-tagging by the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, CBN and other stakeholders, are ongoing.

Supports for Young Farmers, Export Promotion
Taking pride in her comparative natural advantage of arable land, proximity to Lagos and housing of end user companies, Ogun State is supporting young rice and cassava farmers for food security, job creation and export production.

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Ogun State is one of the leading participants in the IFAD/FG Value Chain Programme and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, even as it is the largest producer of cassava in Nigeria, as well as the largest producer of rice in southwestern Nigeria.

According to the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, the “Central Bank has disbursed Seven Hundred Million Naira (N700,000,000) to five thousand, one hundred young farmers to grow cassava and another three hundred million naira (N300,000,000) to 1,000 young rice farmers within a season, a process that was facilitated by the State Government, in collaboration with farmers’ organizations. Some of the beneficiaries were drawn from the state’s job portal.”

The commissioner added that under the IFAD/FG Value Chain Programme, the sum of three hundred and sixty million Naira (N360,000,000) was also disbursed as credit linkage to 8,000 people to grow rice and cassava. The Commissioner noted that this is happening for the first time in the history of Ogun State.

Official launch of free distribution of COVID -19 planting materials palliatives for 4,000 smallholder farmers in Ogun State, on Wednesday, 27th May,2020

These are in line with the commitment of the state government under the leadership of Prince Abiodun to create self-sustainability, make raw materials available for industries, promote export to other states and countries, and create jobs.

Dr. Odedina stated that the reconstruction of roads in the state was not unconnected to the support that the government was providing for off-takers and processors in the agriculture sector. He added that the government was not focusing on urban areas only, but also semi-urban and rural areas to ease movement of raw materials, farm produce and finished goods.

Ogun State as Agricultural Investment Destination
Availability of arable land (which Lagos lacks), relative security of life and property, fair road networks and combined with closeness to Lagos are attractants to both local and international agro-industrial investors.

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Deliberately, the state’s policy framework for agriculture recognises the need for alignment with the National Agricultural Agenda, and the global focus on Sustainable Agriculture (including linkages) to achieve Sustainable Development Goals of “No Poverty” and “Zero Hunger” and other related goals.

The agricultural roadmap in Ogun State aims to integrate food security, job creation and agricultural industrialization into the state economic policy thrust to address gaps across all the value chains through private sector participation and investment through strategic partnership with all agencies (of local, national governments and international bodied) responsible for supporting agriculture and allied activities.

The state has its focus on:
Food crops: Upland and low land rice, cassava, maize, vegetables and spices;
Cash crops: Cocoa, cotton, cashew, citrus, oil palm and soybeans.
Livestock production: Modern cattle ranching, piggery, aquaculture and poultry production.
Ogun State, being the largest producer of industrial cassava, houses the largest number of small, medium and large-scale cassava processing firms in Nigeria. More than 10 per cent of the over 50 million tonnes of cassava produced in Nigeria emanates from Ogun State.

The largest hub of aquaculture and piggery enterprises in West Africa is situated in Ogun State, while the state is also a leading player in broiler and egg production value chain of the poultry sector in Nigeria, closely following Oyo State.

Flag off of harvesting of 2020 wet season rice planted by Ogun State Government-supported youths by His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun, at Sowunmi Village, Mokoloki, Obafemi Owode<br />Local Government, on Monday, 10th August, 2020.

Also, Ogun State has the highest number of small-scale dry season vegetable producers and rice producers in Southwestern Nigeria. Amidst these huge agricultural potentialities, there is a deliberate strategy to support smallholder farmers, who account for more than 70 per cent of the entire farming population by strengthening the state extension service with engagement of additional qualified personnel and capacity building, and provision of responsive and appropriate logistic support.

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The Ogun job portal (https://jobs.ogunstate.gov.ng) has captured over 70,000 persons who are willing to key into various agribusiness opportunities, with over 27,000 of this number opting for cassava value chain opportunities. About 7,000 applicants have also been linked to opportunities, inputs, and markets in Cassava Value Chain and 1,500 in Rice Value Chain under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP); while documentation has been completed for linkage in Cattle, Maize, Aquaculture and Cotton Value Chains. Ogun State, in the latest communication from CBN, has been earmarked has a focal state for Oil palm, Cocoa and Aquaculture Interventions. The comparative edge by Ogun State, as brought to fore by its new focus on Agriculture, is related to the availability of offtakers, input dealers, commodity aggregates and the current capacity of the State to aggregate, train and link farmers including youths, to industrial opportunities and farming support.

COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria modified the Ogun State Agricultural Agenda to include support to all Food Production and Processing Locations, including private sector players in the Food and Farm Sector, to enable these key players continually operate at maximal capacity to avert Covid-19 induced issue of food insecurity/crisis.

Critics, however, said the state should do more in road infrastructure to connect rural food production hubs to the processing zones to avoid post-harvest losses associated with poor roads. On this, the commissioner pointed out that the state was leaving no stone unturned to upscale investment on rural development.

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