By Zika Bobby
A former Guber candidate in Imo State and promoter of Agbaso Integrated Farms, Chief Martin Agbaso, has identified Agribusiness as a veritable tool for wealth creation as the country positions itself for economic recovery.
Agbaso said the present geometric growth of Nigerian population and dwindling fortunes arising from down turn of global oil prices, has made it rather urgent for both the public and private sectors of the economy to aggressively develop agriculture.
“Nigeria as a country, with coordinated effort can close the food shortage gap by 50 percent in the next five years. This, will not only impact on the food sufficiency but greatly off load the burden of food import on our foreign exchange requirement. It will create a much needed empowerment of young people and women through employment. It will in more ways than one improve on the security situation in our country by engaging restive youths in new interests,” he said.
He said a well-managed farm provides greater return on investment than most other sectors of the economy as we move towards less dependency on oil and gas. “Boosting the nation’s foreign exchange through commodities and agricultural export cannot be over emphasized,” he added.
In taking the lead, Agbaso said he has one of the largest catfish farms in Africa, which has created about 600 direct jobs most especially for young people.
“It is an advanced technology driven integrated farm, setting the pace in production of quality fish, livestock and crops to serve Nigeria’s growing demand for locally grown fish, pork, poultry and vegetables. Located on 35 hectares of land in Emekuku a town within Owerri metropolis with a goal to harness and utilize Nigeria’s natural environment and workforce to create high quality affordable food.”
“The local market created by the farms has moved beyond the south east, south south zones into the Lagos market and beyond.
This Initiative in integrated farming has a $1.5 million monthly export profile. This year, the farm will produce about 36 – 40 million table size catfish and tilapia.
“The farms integrated training program is embarking on multi-level training and empowerment of young people in agriculture. We are poised to contribute our quota towards the achievement of full and abundant living for the ordinary Nigerian by joining the global efforts in obtaining self-sufficiency through sustainable agriculture,” the farms management said.