In a move to fortify food security and stimulate economic growth, the Governor of Niger State, Mohammed Umaru Bago, has sealed a Framework Agreement for Commodities Off-take between the state’s premier limited liability company, Niger Food Security & Logistics Company, and the privately-owned Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group.

Under the terms of this agreement, Niger State Government will spearhead the cultivation, harvesting, aggregation and sale of vital crops such as paddy, soybeans, maize and sesame seeds. Acting as the off-taker, TGI Group will assume responsibility for the seamless purchase and transportation of the farm produce.

TGI Group, a conglomerate encompassing WACOT Rice, WASIL, CHI Pharmaceuticals, WACUB and so on, stands at the forefront of this transformative alliance. The agreement aims to foster economic diversification within Niger State while significantly enhancing food security measures in the country.

Governor Bago expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating that, “this is history made, not in the making. Just today we have concluded on various pieces of land we have in Niger State. The traditional institutions and the local government system have also been mandated for advocacy. I can assure you that in less than three months, we can deliver you from aggregation, even before cropping, in any quantity of whatever you want from Niger State. We are going to be partners and we will promote agriculture not just in Niger State but across Nigeria. This opportunity will create the value chain from production and cropping to processing and other endeavours.”

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Mr. Farouk Gumel, Vice Chairman, TGI Group, Africa, said, “this agreement will ensure that WACOT is fed with the immediate needs to meet our global orders. We have WACOT Rice Limited – the biggest, single rice mill in sub-Saharan Africa. To produce our premium quality rice, we need paddy and Niger State will supply us paddy. We have one of the largest poultry businesses on the continent and Niger State is stepping up to ensure that we get the maize we need to feed the poultry for the product that we produce. Therefore, this is a partnership that will not only change our group but will definitely change Nigeria.”

Spanning the next five years, this visionary partnership anticipates the production of an impressive 600,000 to one million tonnes of food annually. More than a mere statistic, this initiative will engage over 100,000 farmers cultivating over 100,000 hectares of arable land across Niger State. The projected economic influx is staggering, promising over N1 trillion annually to bolster the state’s economic prosperity.

Highlighting the commitment of Union Bank of Nigeria – an institution where TGI Group is a strategic investor – who is also an instrumental partner in this venture, an investment of N50 billion is earmarked to commence the collaborative efforts with Niger Foods.

This infusion of capital is set to kickstart production, with the ambitious timeline set for January 2024.