NIGERIA – Niger Foods, an agribusiness company controlled by the Niger State government, has signed a 50-year farmland lease contract on 10,000 hectares as part of efforts towards boosting food production in Nigeria.

The contract entails working with 12 communities in the Bida local government area to exploit the 10,000 hectares of agricultural land through the installation of commercial farms and agricultural estates. 

Signing the contract, Sammy Adigun, executive president of Niger Foods highlighted that this area will be developed through the mechanized cultivation of key strategic crops such as rice, sesame, soya and corn with the objective of producing 250,000 tonnes of agricultural products per year.

Adigun elaborated that the investors will finance the installation of irrigation systems, silos, among others, to transform agricultural estates into food production centers that will serve as a model to be replicated in all other areas of government local state.

Additionally, he estimates that a total of at least 500,000 jobs will ultimately be created for the inhabitants of Bida, leading to economic prosperity for the people of Bida Local Government Area.

 “The solution to food security is production and storage, which Niger Foods Limited is determined to achieve in line with President Tinubu and Farmer Umaru Bago’s policies on agriculture,” he said.

More broadly, the implementation of this new project is aligned with the agricultural policies of the State which wishes to increase local agricultural production with a view to strengthening food security.

The move comes at a time when concerns about food insecurity have been longstanding in Nigeria but worsened after President Tinubu’s move to remove the fuel subsidy, which had been in place for decades.

According to sources, the removal has led to increases of up to 200% in the prices of petroleum which consequently has led to an escalation of prices of foodstuff.

The situation worsened last year prompting president Bola Tinubu to declare a state of emergency to food security.

However, the president has developed raft initiatives including using money saved by the recent removal of a fuel subsidy to provide fertilizer and grain to farmers in a bid to tackle rising food prices and shortages.

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