My experience with rich men as a farmer

I once had the pleasure of being in a room with Nigerian
Multimillionaires, they were discussing investments, i listened.
The Nigerian millionaires were having a business discussion with a
Mexican from the SanCarlos Company, the discussion was actually
the Mexican selling agriculture as a business to Nigerians. The
Mexican from the SanCarlos Corporation invested in a pineapple
farm in Enugu, and now exports pineapples from Nigeria. The
Mexican explained to the Nigerians that Nigeria enjoys excellent
trade terms with Europe and the US, SanCarlos Pineapples are
“Nigerian” thus allow them enter the EU under those trade terms…
The Nigerian millionaires were not convinced
The Mexican went on, he was making good volume exports from
Enugu, his dollar cost were lower in Nigeria than Mexico, he
exports and earns same dollar per tonne for Pineapple.
The Nigerian millionaires were not convinced
The Mexican moved unto Tomatoes, local demand for tomatoes
was constant in Nigeria, but supply of tomatoes was seasonal, any
investor could set up greenhouses and supply tomatoes all year
round locally, great opportunity.
The Nigerian millionaires were not convinced
Carlos continued, “ok , i will make a deal with you all, invest in
tomatoes, i guarantee i will buy up all your output”..
The Nigerian millionaires were not convinced
The Mexican got an A for effort but he was facing a tough crowd.
The Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria,
ARCN, Prof. Baba Abubakar, said Nigeria is the largest importer of
US hard red and white wheat worth N635 billion annually; world’s
number 2 importer of rice at N356 billion; These imports are
established opportunities. lets explore them in detail.
Wheat. Nigeria largest wheat miller is Flour Mills of Nigeria
founded in September 1960, who owns Flour Mills? The Excelsior
Shipping Company Limited, registered in Liberia. The beneficial
owner of Excelsior Shipping Company is a trust established by the
late Mr. John S. Coumantarosere a US citizen.
Who is in second place? Olam of Singapore has bought BUA flour
milling assets, making her Nigeria’s number two wheat miller by
sales volume.
Let’s go to Rice, Where is the Largest Rice Mill in Africa? its in
Kebbi State its called the WACOT Rice Mill in Argungu, its a
gigantic 120,000 metric ton capacity mill, who owns the mill? TGI
Group, a European concern…
Where is the second largest Rice Mill in Africa? its also on Nigeria,
in Nassarawa, its called Olam Rice Mill, who owns it? Olam Group
based in Singapore..
Rice is Nigeria’s single largest food import, according to the BBC
Nigeria in 2016 had a rice demand of 2.3m tonnes, and imported
2.3m tonnes or rice. Nigeria spends $5m or N1b day to import
rice. Yet, the largest Rice millers in Nigeria are from Europe and
Singapore.
What about Palm Oil? The Niger Delta was named the Oil Delta, not
because of crude oil but Palm Oil, Nigeria largest Oil Palm oil
refinary is the Presco Plc. (Presco is investing $30m in a palm oil
refrinary) who owns Presco? SIAT or Société d’Investissement
pour l’Agriculture Tropicale”, a Belgian company. .
I must commend these foreign investors for coming to Nigeria and
actually investing in the real sector, Agriculture is a long, slow and
profits are not guaranteed. The WACOT Rice Mill costs N10b. If
the owners invested their funds in “risk free” Federal Government
Bonds, they will make N1.3b every year, tax free, risk free. yet they
are investing in a rice mill while Nigerian millionaires are looking
for marginal oil field licenses.
Why are Nigerian High Networth Individuals not interested in the
business of Agriculture?
in 2006 the Obasanjo Government created a “Private” company
called Transcorp. Obasanjo said that one of the reasons for the
establishment of Transcorp was the need for a “functional
platform for the projection of the nation’s economic potentials.”
Transcorp was designed to provide the vehicle that Nigeria needs
to mobilise capital on a very large scale for investment in projects
that had hitherto been the exclusive preserve of foreign investors.”
Transcorp was Nigeria response to foreign multinationals. its was
modelled after the South Korean Chaebols, great move. In its first
full year of operation, Transcorp has acquired the NICON Hilton
Hotel in Abuja. Bureau of Public Enterprises put Transcorp for the
acquisition of Nigerian Telecommunications Plc (NITEL), the Port
Harcourt Refinery and the National Clearing and Forwarding
Agency. Transcorp also designed an entry plan for participation in
the development of strategic oil blocks.
Notice anything? Transcop in its early days had no agriculture
portfolio ( it does now)
So when the Federal Government, with the backing of the President
decided to pool Nigerian billionaires and invest in the Nigerian
economy, no one bothered to invest in a Rice or Wheat farm, thats
telling.
There are more Nigerian millionaires with filling stations and
shopping malls that rice mill, More Private jets are owned by
Nigerian Millionaires than oil palm plantations.
Why?
I believe its a perception issue. Agriculture is viewed in Nigeria as
rain-fed hard work, rural, and not as a business. There are not just
enough success stories at the local level to encourage Nigeria best
and brightest students to go and study agriculture and apply
modern techniques to grow, store, process and distribute food.
Football and Entertainment in the past were viewed as professions
for those that failed from white collar jobs in Medicine and Law,
today, these are sought after professions why? because of local
success stories.
Unless the mindset is changed, and agriculture can attract Nigeria
best and brightest, Nigeria will continue to export Cocoa and
Import Chocolate. Good morning Up GRAIN…Food for all
Great farmer.

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4 Comments

  1. Good

  2. Noma Yanada Kau A Nigeria

  3. Great

  4. Ok

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