As a continuous drive towards agricultural development in Southwest Nigeria, DAWN Commission recently paid a working visit to Agro-Park, an agricultural portfolio investment and asset management company located in Ilaje, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Agro-Park is an asset management organisation and agricultural industrial park sitting on 1,000 hectares of land and housing about 250 youths in Ogun State along with over 44,000 hectares support farms and outgrower schemes at different locations in Nigeria.
According to the Managing Director, Mr. Sola Osinowo, the vision of Agro Park is to transfer the knowledge and experience from real estate into agricultural industrial hub where structures are fully in place for all forms of food processing. Nigeria’s food processing industry is valued at $10 billion providing an estimate of 10 million direct jobs. However, food processing is largely dependent on consistent supply of inputs, hence the need for backward integration.
Largely an organic farm, Agro Park specializes in production and processing of spices (turmeric, basil, lemon grass, pepper) poultry and fishery. The processed chicken is branded as ‘Booku’ chicken while the spices are branded as ‘Banow’ spices for both local and export market.
As an advocate for youth ‘agripreneurs’, Agro Park houses about 250 youths as Farm Support Staff ranging from students on Industrial Attachment and graduate trainees. The hub serves as a platform to re-orientate young farmers and train youths in agriculture.
The DG of DAWN Commission, Mr. Seye Oyeleye; in his remark commended the officials of Agro Park on their efforts on agricultural value addition, thereby reducing the import bill on food items. He also applauded their commitment to providing platforms for youths to learn the fundamentals of agriculture and agribusiness. He stated that such facilities can be leveraged by the State governments to empower their youths in agriculture.
Nigeria’s food processing industry is valued at $10 billion providing an estimate of 10 million direct jobs. Certainly, an emergence of more agricultural industrial hubs like Agro-Park dedicated to value addition will reduce food importation in Nigeria.