Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Authority (NSIA) and the UFF Agri-investment have pooled together a multi-million dollar fund tagged UFF-NAIC Agriculture Fund for onward investments in a fully integrated farm in Nasarawa State.
When it kicks off, at least 10,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created, in addition to 500 support services and small businesses.
According to the Managing Director of NSIA, Uche Orji, the investment comprises a broad acreage of Maize and Soya beans farms integrated into a system of feed mills and storage silos.
He added that additional capital will be deployed towards expanding the farm’s existing infrastructure, increasing installed capacity and enhancing the overall quality and quantity of output.
“With this investment, the fund will acquire and develop a 3,500 hectarages of land, of which 2,300 hectres are arable. The capital injection will be used to construct and install state of the art irrigation infrastructure, water reservoirs, grain storage and processing facilities. Also, the farming operations will be expanded to serve as input sources to the processing plant. By modernizing the farm’s operations and backward integrating, it is expected that crop yield will improve significantly and a two season (wet and dry season) farming will be achieved going forward.
“The expanded infrastructure is projected to increase the mills output tonnage by 60 per cent, while the combination of a centre-pivot irrigation system and surface drip lines will be deployed to increase water application across the farm.
Orji said NSIA and UFF’s interest in the agriculture sector in Nigeria was underpinned by a shared vision of the significant socio-economic opportunities that exist. The investment is expected to promote income-generating opportunities for small holder famers under an out-grower scheme and related services.
“Overall, the investment is expected to stimulate economic activities that will lead to the creation of jobs and improvements in quality of life”, he added.
Also commenting on the investment, UFF Joint Managing Director, Erwin Bouland, said:
“The investment in the farm in Nasarawa provides the first co-investment opportunity in Nigeria. The asset is complementary to existing portfolio holdings in that it offers geographic, climatic and farming type diversification.
“The lease model, coupled with the water security provided by this investment, fits with our objectives of reduced risk and consistent income provision for our institutional client base. UFF leverage highly productive assets by introducing investment in technology that creates exciting long-term opportunities for the Fund,” he explained.