â€¦ â€˜Obasekiâ€™s GIS, land use initiatives engender agribusiness growthâ€™
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, PRESCO Plc, Mr. Felix Nwabuko has said that the companyâ€™s 15,000 hectares expansion project is as a result of the far-reaching reforms being implemented by the Edo State Government in the agriculture sector.
Nwabuko said this during an interview with journalists in Benin City, noting, â€œThe deliberate effort and reforms initiated by the Godwin Obaseki led-administration and the Federal Government, to prioritise agriculture as an alternative means to derive economic growth, are highly commendable.â€
He lauded Governor Obasekiâ€™s initiative to make land available for investors, who are ready to invest in the people and other resources in Edo State. He noted, â€œI am excited that the state government is mapping out land through the Geographic Information Service (GIS) initiative, for allocation of land for investors who mean business in the state. We expect that state government would speed up the process.”
Nwabuko said the reforms contributed to the company plan to expand its operations, noting, â€œPRESCO is investing on green energy production through our biological assets, our plantation. Last year, we planted on 3600 hectares, in our new location in Orhionmwon Local Government Area. This year we intend to plant on 4000 hectares. If can do 100, 000 hectares in Edo State, we will do it.â€
He said that the total hectarage marked for expansion is about 15,000, and with the cultivation of over 8,000 hecatres in two years, it will take just another year to get the full plantation ready.
He said the shift from the old way of practicing agriculture towards agribusiness is a great lift, as this has contributed to the growth of companies like PRESCO.
â€œIn 2016, we decided to expand on three areas, all of which complement the policies of the state and federal government on agriculture. The areas include; import substitution, as every additional ton of what we produce as we expand will limit what the country imports,â€ he added.
Explaining that creating alternative means of driving sustainable economic growth other than proceeds from crude oil is a bold step, he noted, â€œThe initiative to focus on agriculture reforms to drive economic growth is noble as it becomes important that government realises that agriculture is key to sustainable growth.â€
Nwabuko who is a member of the Edo State Agriculture Committee, noted, â€œI am privy of the policies and efforts of the Obaseki led-administration on agriculture reforms capable of sustaining the economy and serving as means of job creation even far into the future.â€
He added, â€œIt is important that governments focus on agriculture, despite Nigeriaâ€™s huge crude oil reserve, the pattern of usage and other factors can upset the value of crude oil which may spell doom for an economy which depend largely on the proceeds to spur economic growth.â€
â€œBut considering the impact of agriculture, one has to consider the fact that agriculture has been with man and will remain with man till the end. So, it is a right decision to prioritise agriculture and pay attention to the sector to drive economic growth the way government is doing now,â€ he said.