By; NIYI OGUNGBOLA Abeokuta
Ogun State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a French Company, FAN MILK PLC, for the production of dairy foods in the country.
Speaking after the signing of the MoU in the presence of the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Jerome Pasquier at the Governor’s office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun, said agriculture remained a critical pillar of his Administration and the government would stop at nothing to actualize the dream of turning the State to the Nation’s food basket.
“Agriculture is one of our key sectors. We have the land, the people and traditional farmers. Today, we have done so much to become number one in cassava, eggs, and poultry in the country. We are also the largest producer of rice in the South West, besides being a major kolanuts, cocoa and cotton. Our fish production has become a model in the continent.
“We see ourselves becoming the food basket of this nation and this tallies nicely with President Buhari’s ‘grow what you eat and eat what you grow agenda’ and we have keyed into this”, he noted.
Governor Abiodun stated that the State has embarked on various initiatives aimed at reducing unemployment rate in the State by keying into the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrower’s and the FADAMA GUYS programmes, maintained that more than 30, 000 people have so far benefited from the programmes.
While pledging his government support to the private sector, the Governor added, “We see this as an opportunity not just to further increase our contributions to food security, but particularly to allow us to reduce the level of unemployment. We realised that agriculture is the easiest and cheapest way to reduce unemployment”.
He acknowledged the contribution of FAN MILK in its more than five decades of existence in the country, expressing the hope that the signing of the MoU would help the State in its human capacity building as well as in job creation.
“This is how we want you to see this partnership. It has to go beyond what FAN MILK could get out of this. How much capacity building are we going to see with this, how many jobs are we going to create with this because we all know that as we reduce unemployment, we will see a positive benefit in the reduction in the rate of crime”, the Governor explained.
Prince Abiodun appreciated the French Ambassador for promoting business opportunities between his country and Nigeria, particularly Ogun State and for facilitating the MoU, observing that production of raw materials for dairy products would not only create jobs, but would also conserve the nation’s foreign exchange.
In his remarks, Ambassador Pasquier noted that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the state government and the company will help in reducing food importation and increase food security, adding that the company would diversify its production by using locally made products.
The French Ambassador further disclosed that the MoU was a new step in corporate cooperation between the one of the most successful States in the country, added that when fully operational, the project would help create job opportunities for the people of the state and also help develop the production of local cows in the state.
He commended the State for its performance in the agricultural and educational sectors of the State’s economy, expressing happiness for seeing French company taking its share in the State’s industrial activities.
Chairman, FAN MILK PLC, Mr. Olayinka Akinkugbe in his presentation, noted that the company was in the Stallte to tap it’s agricultural potentials for the development of the State and country and also to contribute to employment drive of the present administration and the education of the farming community in the state and enjoy the infrastructure that was readily available for Investors in the state.