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Shettima informs US investors that Nigeria is the best location for agribusiness


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    Vice President Kashim Shettima has told United States investors that Nigeria remains the best place to invest in agribusiness given its 70 million hectares of underutilised arable land, which, he pointed out, is 75% of the country’s total land mass.

    Speaking during the 2023 Norman Borlaug International Dialogue in Iowa, United States, on Tuesday, he assured them that the country is ready for agribusiness with substantial opportunities for local and foreign investors to boost agricultural productivity.

    Delivering an address titled “Nigeria’s Agribusiness Roadmap for a Prosperous Future,” Shettima said, “Our primary objective is to empower our farmers and attract investors. We are increasing primary production to harness the economic potential of agro-processing and industrialization. This is why, upon assuming office, the President declared a state of emergency in agriculture.

    “The connection between food and national security is too significant for us not to be alarmed by happenings around the world, whether in response to unforeseen disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic or the geopolitical frictions around us.”

    Restating Nigeria’s firm belief in the power of partnership, the vice president explained that it was for this reason that the country had prioritised interventions, which he said present profound economic opportunities for investors.

    He listed the interventions to include the National Agriculture Growth Scheme (NAGS), the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (L-PRES), the Green Imperative Project (GIP), and the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) programmes.

    Shettima further stated: “Allow me to share that Nigeria understands the essence of partnerships in sustaining the dreams and promises that have brought us together today. This is why we are already collaborating with institutions such as the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Islamic Development Bank, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to achieve food and nutrition security in Nigeria and beyond.

    “With the invaluable support of our partners, we are exploring innovative strategies to transform this quest for food security into a thriving enterprise.”

    The vice president highlighted critical areas in which Nigeria was assisting its farmers to increase productivity, including essential infrastructure for industries to increase their capacity.

    According to him, “With about 70 million hectares of underutilised arable land, which is 75% of our total land area, Nigeria offers a substantial opportunity to both local and foreign investors to boost agricultural productivity. This is why we’ve embraced the TAAT, GIP, and SAPZ programmes and are investing in agricultural research through the National Agricultural Development Fund (NADF).

    “This is why we are helping our farmers increase production and providing essential infrastructure for industries in peri-urban areas to expand their capacity. This, yes, is the wisdom for our resolve to establish Mechanisation Service Centres in all our 774 local government areas to facilitate essential primary production services.”

    He further stated that, while much of the demand for agribusiness products was satisfied through imports, the Tinubu administration is dedicated to reversing Nigeria’s over-reliance on importation.

    Shettima noted that, apart from the fact that its strategic location in West Africa provides easy access to regional and international markets, Nigeria was also poised to dismantle investment barriers.

    This, he said, is being achieved through a supportive policy framework such as the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP).

    He continued: “Because we believe that import rules are a significant factor, we’ve established a policy of zero duties on agricultural machinery and imposed restrictions on certain agricultural commodities to stimulate local production. We are also offering preferential financing and subsidies, exemplified by an agricultural credit guarantee scheme that guarantees up to 75% of loans for agricultural ventures.

    “We’ve also introduced a range of tax incentives, including tax holidays, deductions for locally sourced materials, labour incentives, and pioneer status incentives, making it easier to conduct business. Notably, we’ve opened the doors to foreign investors, allowing them to have 100% ownership in companies and repatriate their profits and dividends without hindrance.”

    Declaring that Nigeria was ready for agribusiness, the Vice President pointed out that the country was “committed to the journey towards a world where food security and nutrition are not luxuries but fundamental rights for all.”

    A statement issued on Wednesday by the vice president’s spokesman, Stanley Nkwocha, explained that the Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue also referred to as the “Borlaug Dialogue,” is a gathering of individuals from more than 65 countries fully prepared to address cutting-edge issues related to global food security and nutrition.

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