Major indigenous oil company, Oando and its Joint Venture (JV) partners, including the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) have given impetus to farmers by boosting modern agriculture practice in Nigeria.
This was celebrated at the weekend when the company along with its partners held the 22nd edition of its annual Green River Project (GRP) / Farmers Day celebration in Igbo-ogene Bayelsa State.
The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari who spoke through video recording, commended Oando and its partners and said there was need to fully exploit agricultural potential in the country, saying that it was the only way Nigerians can feed themselves.
“Agriculture is the only way we can feed ourselves in a sustainable manner. Active participation in agriculture is our patriotic duty. It will create millions of jobs in the future. We cannot keep feeding ourselves with imported food when God has blessed us with natural resources, we cannot continue to create jobs abroad at the expense of young, energetic, willing and able youth.”
According to the President, to support the agricultural sector, the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guaranteed a total of N1, 422.4 million to 12,524 farmers under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) in the third quarter of 2018.
In his speech at the ceremony, the Chief Operating Officer of Oando Energy Resources, Dr. Ainojie Irune said, “We have built this initiative to outlive our generation. My hope is that future generations will experience the growth of this endeavor and the value it brings. The nation has a lot to learn from this initiative; in how you can take something small and transform it through unity and collaboration into something this successful and on such a grand scale. The onus lies on us as private sector partners and you to take advantage of this unique opportunity and propel your state to become an agro-export state.”
He disclosed that to date Oando and its JV Partners have distributed over 2,711,536 fish fingerlings, 37,669 cassava bundles, 200,563 plantain suckers, 400,051 maize seeds and 87,003 seed yam to the GRP farmers. In 2017 they trained over 5000 women and youth in various vocational skills and 275 youth in agro skills acquisition, following its mantra to leave a lasting positive impact on its host communities.
The President of African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina said at the event that unless Africa uses modern technologies, “our farmers output will remain low and we will remain dependent on others to feed us.”