In view of the progressive developments attributed to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina in an interview with AgroNigeria has recommended continuity of the ATA by the incoming government as a means to ensure sustainability of the progress made within the sector over the past four years.
This recommendation was made recently at his office in Abuja, while receiving key delegate members of the Triton Group – a conglomerate comprising of companies with various business interests in seafood distribution, aqua farming, poultry and processing.
“I have no doubt that the incoming government will continue on the path of transformation because this has been a smooth transition process. As investor’s confidence in Nigerian agriculture is at an all time high, motivated by the bold policy reforms we have undertaken in the past four years. Our strategy, though initially unpopular, has remained unchanged throughout the period, with emphasis on local production, value addition and import substitution. To my mind, the right policies are those that are primed to move us away from importation dependence”, said Adesina in emphasis on the need for the development and implementation of the right policy direction for Nigeria and invariably Africa.
Speaking on his candidacy as the African Development Bank (AfDB) President, the Minister who is an unrepentant advocate for alleviating the economic status of farmers across Africa, shared his passion for poverty reduction and possibly elimination with issues such as power generation, provision of equity funds, nominal interest rates amongst others ranking high on his priority list of challenges to be addressed, upon his election while reminiscing on his humble beginning as the drive for his ambition.
According to Adesina, the fish policy was developed in a bid to curtail the import rate into Nigeria and drive local production, thus explaining the cost implication of Nigeria’s fish imports currently at an estimated 1.9 million metric tons of fish annually and valued at over N125 billion, as money that could easily be ploughed back into the economy for the benefit of all.
“With a national fish demand of about 2.1 million MT per annum and a domestic production estimated at about 800,000 MT, Nigeria has a shortfall of about 1.3 million MT. We insisted on following through with the reforms and the results keep vindicating us. Today, we gather because Triton Group, erstwhile involved in fish importing business in Nigeria, has on account of our policy measures become converted and is now committed to investing in local aquaculture production.” stated the Minister in respect to the projected impact of the fish policy.
The Chairman, Triton Group – Mr. Ashvin Samtani who visited the Federal Ministry to present a larger investment strategy for his company in Nigeria, outlined the plan to include a fully integrated fish farm involving poultry and planting of crops to enable them produce their own feed.
Furthermore, Mr. Samtani acknowledged the ATA as a laudable and progressive initiative while expressing his hope for continuity from the incoming government. In his words, “one good thing about agriculture is that it is neutral to politics. Any government that comes in will always support agriculture. So we don’t see any difference between the outgoing government and the incoming government. Our assumption is that the support will be similar, and hopefully more because the incoming government has projected itself as a government for the people and we are sure that perhaps, they will give more support to the sector. We have given our suggestions, our requests in our presentations some of which the Minister has already addressed. Some of them will require some tweaking of policy in order to make it more applicable broadly. So it’s something that we are looking forward to”.
The highlight of the Triton Group’s visit, was the presentation of an aquarium of fish – their first harvest from the Iwo pilot fish farm in Osun state to Dr. Akinwumi Adesina by the Chairman of the group – Mr. Ashvin Samtani.
The investment strategy of the Triton group, is projected to create a minimum of 300 jobs.
Culled from Agro Nigeria