President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Kaduna inaugurated Africa’s biggest hatchery and feed mill constructed by Olam Grains at the cost of over 150 million dollars.
Buhari, who inaugurated the company, had his speech read by Minister of Agriculture, Dr Audu Ogbeh.
He described Olam as one of the largest agro-based companies in Africa and the biggest poultry investment in Nigeria. “We participated in the event because it is clear evidence that economic growth is taking place especially in the agricultural sector,” he said.
“It is in this connection that we must be able to feed ourselves from what we grow and grow what we eat before we can comfortably turn our attention to many other key concepts of our daily life.’’
The aim, he said, was to ensure that Nigerians have access to food, better life, and better hope for their future. According to him, the inauguration of the company is a testimony that growth is serious and lasting growth is taking place in the economy.
The president stressed that with Nigeria exiting recession, the country has become a safe haven for investors. He said the establishment of the company was a testimony that the country’s agricultural policies were working.
The president said the Federal Government has in the last two years made agriculture a profitable venture in Nigeria, attracting investments from within and outside the country.
He noted that new jobs were being created daily for the teaming youth and the economy has started booming again due to policy intervention in the agricultural sector which focused on internal growth and ending food imports.
“We have achieved so much in reducing rural-urban drift, we are beginning to witness reverse migration from the city to villages to engage in agriculture,’’ he added.
He challenged the company to patronise local maize farmers to encourage sustainable growth.
This he said, was necessary to build capacity of local people, create jobs, ensure wellbeing of the people and reduce crime. On his part, Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna pledged that his administration would continue to encourage investors through favourable policies.
He advised political office holders and civil servants in the state to embrace farming. The governor stressed that the establishment of the company in the state create thousands of jobs through the value chain.
The company would employ 8,000 Nigerians and 200 veterinary doctors, and hatch 1.6 million day-old-chick weekly. It will process 180,000 tonnes of corn and 75,000 tonnes of soya beans to produce 360,000 tonnes of animal feeds yearly.