By Lawal A. Dogara, Kaduna
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria will produce enough cash and food crops for the overall development of the country.
He made the statement during the commissioning of the 150m dollars Olam poultry and feed mill in Kaduna on Tuesday.
President Buhari observed, “This massive edifice put in place by Olam is one of the largest agricultural firms in our beloved country. I am told that this is one of the biggest investments in poultry industry in Nigeria.
“We are particularly pleased to participate in this event because it is clear evidence that in spite of all odds, economic growth is taking place especially in the agricultural sector.
“This was our promise at the inception of our administration when we came in to deal with challenges in the economy which was almost appearing insurmountable.
“It is our article of faith and our Ernest believe that agriculture offers the most viable and all encompassing options in our attempt to diversify our national economy.
“It is in this connection that we must first be able to say to ourselves that we must be able to feed ourselves on what we grow and grow what we eat before we can comfortably turn our attention to many of the other key concerns of our daily lives.
“The commissioning of this massive facility is a living testimony to our claim that growth, serious and lasting growth is taking place in our economy and that growth can only last if it begins at the grassroots.
“About six months ago, we announced to the world that we are in a recession. We announced the recession ourselves. We were bold enough to admit it and we were honest about it.
He also said, “When the national Bureau of Statistics presented a green picture of this state of affairs, we accepted the reality and confronted it headlong with courage and perseverance.
“Now a few months down the road, the Bureau of statistic has released the cheering news that we are getting out of the fit of recession.
“Even though the statistics are still fragile and we have no illusion that we need to even work harder to get to that economic level that is satisfactory, we are happy to note and we believe that the majority of Nigerians are also happy that we are getting out of possibly the worse economic scenario in our country’s history.
“Giving this positive development and with the gradual recovery of our economy, we think the great signs of growth and prosperity for this country are at hand.
“We are also aware that the pessimistic ones in our midst may be reluctant to admit that positive development is occurring in economic space for obvious reasons, evidently, the undeniable reality is that we are getting out of the wood.”
Earlier, the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai told the President that the state government has given Olam free land in which they built the plant, adding, “We spent over N500m as compensation to the land owners.”
According to him, the commissioning of the project was not by chance as it was based on a careful investment study and interaction with the leadership of the company.
“This was a company that had invested in Nigeria in the early 80’s and had to migrate to Singapore . Your excellency may wish to recall that when you invited me to be part of your delegation around 2015 for the United Nations General Assembly and I told you that I have an investment trip, you gave me the full support and approval to go.
“This was the out come of the trip as on 8th April, 2016 the ground breaking foundation laying ceremony was held and after seventeen months it has become a reality.
“The plant will be producing 1.6m chicks weekly. While, it has so far created about 50,000 jobs.”