Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Akinwunmi Adesina, has disclosed that investors from the United States of America (USA) would commit $6 billion to the nation’s agricultural sector.
The minister said this while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TF) on agribusiness in Abuja.
He stated that the funds would be invested on sugar-cane plantation in the North, and cassava plantation in the southern part of the country.
According to Adesina, there would be two plants in the North that would use about 100,000 hectares of land each for sugar-cane, which would be their own nucleus farm, and about 70, 000 hectares for cassava in the South.
The minister reiterated the government’s support to facilitating the private sector financing needed to grow the agricultural sector.
Under the MoU, TF would station an investment adviser with the ministry in order to build capacity to engage domestic and foreign direct investors.
Adesina said the ministry has made recommendation to the Head of Service of the Federation to create a whole department for agribusiness in the ministry to build internal capacity for agribusiness.
Founder of the TF and former CEO of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Tony Elemelu, blamed wrong agricultural polices by governments of African countries on ignorance.
According him, African countries adopt wrong agricultural policies due to lack of awareness, so the foundation seeks to provide capacity to African governments, which the foundation has done in Sierra Leone and Liberia and now the turn of Nigeria
Elumelu said the foundation would conduct a study on failed agricultural projects in the country, so that the information would be available publicly to Nigerian private investors and foreign direct investors who seek to invest in agriculture to take advantage of it.
He also said the foundation has just signed an MoU with a foreign investor to setup a fertilizer plant in the country.
“This will be in the public domain as part of our contribution to grow agriculture in the country,” he said.
“The fellow we are sending to the ministry is one of the most accomplished fellows, we believe as a foundation in the role of the private sector, and we also realise that the private sector cannot do much until it gets the necessary back-up that will unlock investment opportunities,” Elumelu added.