The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has pledged federal government’s commitment to partnering Contec Global Agro Limited in its organic farming initiative.
He said federal government cannot on its own directly drive farming activities.
As part of its responsibility therefore, Ogbeh, said government is determined to support Contec Global and other willing investors in the sector to overcome the peculiar challenges they face.
Ogbeh, who made the disclosure during a visit to the Company’s 250 hectares organic banana plantation initiative at Kamadi Sabo, Kwali Local Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said the application of organic of organic fertilizers using microbs from Nigerian soil will enhance the health status of Nigerians.
The minister said: “The philosophy behind government’s green alternative programme, was to attract the private sector into agriculture.
“When we find willing investors like the Contec Global Group, Dangote and some others, our job is to give them maximum support, see what they are doing and how we can support them to overcome their difficulties.
The Minister while applauding the company, for its large scale organically driven banana plantation, underscores his excitement, adding “I can see the pilot farm of 250 hectares of of banana farms here to produce totally organic banana to Europe market and local consumption.
He urged investors to take advantage of the banana market, which according to him is worth $11 billion, stressing, Nigeria through Contec Global will take advantage of the European market because of its proximity to that continent.
Nigeria, the minister said will therefore increase its agro export potentials, create jobs wealth and make Nigerians happy because the young people here needs jobs, explaining that the biggest threat to a country’s instability is unemployment.
While raising concern on the high rate of liver and kidney failures among the youths, he though attributed the resurgence of such healthy complications it to the metals and chemicals found in our diet and food.
According to him, a vital question to ask is whether our foods are are disease free, chemical free and that they are purely organic in nature. Once we increased our production here we shall cut down on banana import from Cameroun, he said.
On assistance to private investors, he said: “One of the best incentives is to show goodwill and gratitude to Contec Global, because of the challenges that they face in the field, like licensing to land acquisition and other headaches that they have to overcome and we have to help them to overcome that.
This partnership through global organic agro revolution should be encouraged because the world is now one big huge market as we buy and sell, because here the company has the human expertise that will impact our agricultural sector, the minister added.
The ultimate aim of government, Ogbeh stressed is the production of healthy food for Nigerians because there are now too many strange diseases like liver and kidney complications.
Government will leverage on the experience and expertise that Contec Global will bring to bear and so we need to support them and leverage on our collective experience for job creation.
“I’m happy that the organically driven banana plantation is geared at eliminating chemical crops. The company is also developing microbs in the labs, and putting them into the soil to enrich the soil without having to use chemical of any kind.
“This is what nature is about as the chemical fertilizer is salty and they do damage the soil and microbs which we are trying to put into the soil. We need to make the food healthier because a lot of poisoning is going on in our country even the machines that we use to grind tomatoes in the market produces heavy metals which can also be harmful to the body.” he said.
In a joint remark, the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Mr. Rohit Berry and the Managing Director, Mr. Thomas Chackunkal, said the organic fertilizer is produced from microbs that are sourced from Nigerian soil.
Berry said: “This farm site which is 250 hectares of banana plantation is only a pilot scheme. The company has received invitation from Edo, Cross River, Taraba and Osun States for partnership. We thousands of hectares IN Eruwon, Oyo State where we are developing into banana plantation using only bio-safe organic products.”