Nigeria’s Agricultural policies ambitious but achievable – Owoeye

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A former critic of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) and the Managing Director of Elephant Group Africa, Mr. Tunji Owoeye, has disclosed that the objectives of the ATA programmes were not only ambitious at inception but had been proven to be realisable.
Owoeye advised politicians to desist from playing politics with agriculture, warning that it could have dire consequences on the country.
He made this plea while hosting the executive members of Nigerian Association of Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ), who paid a courtesy visit to his office in Lagos. He said politicising agriculture will adversely affect several revolutionary policies of the present government which are impacting positively on agriculture in Nigeria.
The Elephant Group CEO described himself as one of the pessimists, who opposed the policies put forward by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina, because he thought the policies were aggressive, ambitious and unachievable but added that four years down the line, they were not just achievable but are already yielding results that a lot of countries want to come to Nigeria to copy the agricultural policies of the country.
Owoeye however announced that his company had acquired 20,000 hectares of land for rice production with investment in billions of naira. He estimated rice consumption in Nigeria to be between five to six tonnes of rice.
While lauding President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for dealing with multi-billion naira fertilizer fraud, he urged Nigerians to make use of financial facilities put in place by the government to boost agriculture in the country.
In his contribution, the Executive Director of the Group, Akin Ogunbiyi, called on the government to review the Land Use Act so as to lessen the difficulty in acquiring land for Agricultural purposes.
He also reiterated the need for Bank of Agriculture to relax some of their policies so that many farmers can have access to the facilities quicker.
Earlier, NAAJ President, Stanley Ihedigbo, lauded the Elephant Group for its contributions to the economy of the country especially in the area of agriculture. He said the association, which was formed to promote agriculture, was in the company for facility tour and to have firsthand knowledge of its operations.

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