The Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, has once again won the Governor of The Year Award in Agriculture.

The governor, who emerged tops in the 2020 edition of the award organised by the Nigeria Agricultural Award (NAA), was, on Tuesday night, declared winner in the agricultural sector at the award ceremony of the Feed Nigeria Summit at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.

Speaking after receiving the award, Abiodun said the summit had become a dialogue forum for the advancement of Global Agriculture, with sufficient reference to agricultural development in Africa and Nigeria.

While appreciating the organisers of the event for the follow-up on Ogun State agriculture despite its low profile as well as quiet focus on delivery, the governor explained that the state’s agricultural agenda had been tailored towards the agricultural agenda of the Federal Government.

This agenda, according to him, had been focused on support to smallholder farmers, job creation, food and nutrition security, agricultural industrialisation, and linkage of growers/farmers to the industrial process, in an innovative value chain approach.

The governor disclosed that Ogun currently has one of the highest numbers of beneficiaries in the CBN/Federal Government Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) in cassava.

“In line with our resolve to partner with the private sector and provide enabling environment for investments and agribusinesses, we have become the world’s epicenter as a dependable host and partner, especially with the government initiative of establishing a cargo airport to supplement the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other donor-funded projects, including the IFAD/FGN Value Chain Development Project (VCDP), in which our state has recorded tremendous success with 12,000 beneficiaries supported with technology, inputs, and credit,” Abiodun added.

The governor, who informed the gathering that the cargo airport would be delivered to global agricultural value chain actors and players next year, assured that “as a government, we have a firm belief in inclusive agricultural opportunities that will not cut out smallholder farmers, youths and women.”

He explained further that the smallholder farmers had been deliberately empowered with knowledge and appropriate linkage that would enable them to take their share of the new wealth and opportunities in the Ogun agricultural sector, which had put them in the best position to supply services and raw materials to support the numerous agro-industries in Ogun and beyond.

MEANWHILE, a leading commodity player, AFEX, has partnered with agricultural investment company, South-West Agriculture Company (SWAgCo), and the Ogun State for the development of 5000 hectares for the production of multi-crops in the South-West zone of Nigeria.

The partnership was announced during the ceremony heralding a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the deal room of the Feed Nigeria Summit 2021. Focus crops for the partnership include cassava, rice, and maize.

The Commissioner for Agriculture for Ogun State, Dr. Adeola Odedina, highlighted the alignment of the project with the ambitions for agriculture in the state,

“Our agricultural agenda as a state continues to be bold and exemplary, and this agreement is a very important step in that agenda. Together with AFEX and SWAgCo, we are creating a staple crop zone as a vital part of the execution of the Special Agro-Industrial Zone (SAPZ) for the state, being developed in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB),” he said.

AFEX will deploy its exchange platform to both raise financing for the project and enable market access for the produce derived from the project.

“Our partnership with the Ogun State government and SWAgCo is integrating the private sector’s efficiency and innovation with the forward-thinking plans and agenda of the government of the state in a way that will create jobs and enable wealth creation for the country,” said Ayodeji Balogun, CEO, AFEX, while signing the tripartite agreement.

“As a commodity exchange and capital market player, we are able to deploy a blended finance product that will drive production and industrialisation within the state, and help to achieve the mandate of the SAPZ,” he said.

Balogun said AFEX’s goal was to create a way to triple the yields of staples to six-eight metric tonnes and continue to produce wealthy farmers for Nigeria, stating that the company would not stop in the South-West region, but would spread its operations across all regions in Nigeria.

Commenting at the signing ceremony of the tripartite agreement, the MD/CEO of SWAgCo, Babajide Arowosafe, said, “We are working with an institution like AFEX that is able to structure the agricultural food system in the country in a commercial way that delivers value to different operators in the value chain.”

We have come into an alliance with AFEX to drive the SAPZ agenda in partnership with the Ogun State Government. We have a triplicate agreement – AFEX, SwagCo, and the Ogun State Government – to create the right platform for a seamless takeoff of the SAPZ agenda under commercial and private sector terms.

In the long run, we want to industrialize the agricultural space within the southwest and then for Nigeria as a country. We hope to have a partnership that encourages private sector operators to come in and benefit within the SAPZ agenda to deliver a more structured industrial revolution in the country,” Arowosafe said.

The execution of the agreement will strengthen all levels of agricultural activities in Ogun State, and help in job creation and the achievement of food security for the country.

About AFEX

At AFEX we harness Africa’s commodities and talent to build shared wealth and prosperity. Our infrastructure and platform investments work to unlock capital to power a trust economy in Africa’s commodities markets. Since its inception in 2014, we have developed and deployed a viable commodities exchange model for the West African market, and are on track to impact one million producers; providing services in productivity and value capture and access to finance and markets. By deploying an efficient market system, we will facilitate trade with Africa worth over USD500 million in the next five years.

AFEX’s vision is to be the reference point for commodities in Africa. To achieve this goal, AFEX looks to introduce products that de-risk the sector, drive financial inclusion for rural communities, develop technology for data collection and market access, and enable capital deployment.

About SWAgCo

SWAgCO is a subsidiary of Oodua Investment Company. With a capital base of N25 billion, SWAgCO was established to unlock unrealised agriculture and agribusiness value by transforming underinvested agribusiness opportunities within Nigeria into institutional-grade investment operations.

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