FG calls for investment in food processing
By Jimoh Babatunde
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr Heineken Lokpobiri, has appealed to investors to invest in food processing in the country as the government is prepared to grant incentives for investing heavily in the sector and to make the nation earn foreign exchange as well as feed the populace.
Lokpobiri made the appeal yesterday during his tour of Atlantic Shrimpers Ltd’s Shrimp Farm in Badagry, Lagos State.
While commending the company for its massive investment in the shrimp farm, Lokpobiri said that the ministry would ensure that the project succeeded.
He said the ministry was interested to see the shrimps in markets overseas as Made-In-Nigeria, adding that the ministry would also ensure that the shrimps were exported to China and Russia that needed the products by fast-tracking the certification process and regulating it.
Mr Heineken Lokpobiri added that the Ministry would soon start certification of agricultural produce and products before export.
According to him, it is disheartening to know that yam export from Ghana is acceptable internationally, while the same yam exported from Nigeria is rejected.
“Certification of our agric produce and products is now a big issue.
“In terms of global certification, Nigeria has never had any of its agric produce and products certified.
“The Federal Government has realised this and that is why a ministerial committee has been set up,’’ Lokpobiri said.
“The committee will come up with modalities to certify our agric produce and products before export within a few months.
“This will make our agricultural produce and products acceptable in other parts of the world where they will be exported,’’ he said.
The minister of state said that the ministry had also identified majority of the problems facing the sector, adding that the problems would be tackled headlong.
Mr Kamlesh Kabra, the Managing Director of Atlantic Shrimpers Ltd., said that the shrimp farm was to give them the opportunity to culture shrimps and produce more to satisfy local consumption and export.
Kabra said that the company had been a big player in the fishing industry with over 70 trawlers providing jobs for more that 1,000 Nigerians.
He said that the shrimp farm was capable of employing over 400 people.
According to him, the company has just completed work on the first phase of the farm, while the other hectares of land would be used for Tilapia Fish and other sea foods culture in the future.