By; Jacob Onjewu Dickson
President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and other key political associates of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, shunned the ground breaking ceremony of Atiku’s animal feed factory Rico Gardo Nutrition, situated at Idu Industrial Layout Abuja.
Atiku Abubakar who is one of the national leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and one of the aspirants who contested the presidential ticket of the APC with Buhari, however attracted two cabinet ministers as well as Speaker House of Representatives, New Nigerian observes.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, his FCT counterpart Mohammed Bello as well as Yakubu Dogara were at the event, but former President Olusegun Obasanjo whom Atiku Abubakar served as Vice President was absent at the event.
In his opening remarks, the politician turned investor, Atiku Abubakar said “Our compound feed allows hundreds of producers to rear their livestock faster, to make them fatter, and to keep their animals in good health.
“Our feed is reducing the expanse of land required to feed cattle, and we hope that in the future, it will help defuse the conflicts between herders and farmers that have plagued many agrarian societies before us, and that are currently costing us too many lives and livelihoods, and threatening our nation’s future.
“Let me be clear: A profitable feedstock mill is no magic fix that solves all of our problems. It is a small piece in a big puzzle that will make our agricultural sector more attractive and more productive. And it is a small piece in the even bigger puzzle that will get us over our addiction to fossil fuels, and over our reliance on rent-seeking enterprises. Put simply it will help us get over our dangerous addiction to oil revenues” Atiku remarked.
The Abuja factory which will be completed in 32 weeks has the capacity to produce 50 tonnes of animal feed per hour as 100% raw materials will be sourced locally.
Rico Gado Nutrition Nigeria is a world class company which produces healthy and quality livestock feeds for fast growth. It has poultry super starter (102), starter (104) and finisher (115) programme. It also has cattle calf grower (310), finisher (330) super finisher (350); diary cattle cubes (331), dry cows (315) and milk cow (321)programme; as well as maintenance milk cow high yield 325. There is also small ruminant programme for sheep and goat: lamb pellet (551), ewe & ram pellet (520) and goat pellet (615) as well as maintenance sheep and goat cubes (531). Rico Gado has programme for horses: horses (401) and sport horses (403).
Founded more than forty years ago as a leading livestock feed brand in Portugal, Rico Gado extended its tentacles to Nigeria with a factory in Yola Adamawa state in 2003 amidst heavy onslaught of Boko Haram which crippled business activities in the North East part of the country at that time, yet the occasion attracted dignitaries from 37 countries while full commercial activities commenced on the 31st of January, 2015.
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe congratulated Atiku and his foreign partners for investing in Nigeria now that the country is clamouring for economic diversification, while assuring Rico Gado that government will give them all needed support including adjusting relevant policies to their favour.
Ogbe said “let me assure you that if at any time you need certain adjustments in policy to make this enterprise work, all you have to do is to just send a word.
“We will have to defend local industries and go against all the preaching of free trade and globalisation.
“As I said a long time ago, Nigerian economy got to where it is today because we have by and large been practicing indigested economic theories. Free trade yes, globalisation yes, all of these means a capacity to compete and we have never had that capacity to compete because we have never taken the step which other countries took to be strong enough to compete.
“They said free trade but nobody mentioned fair trade. We proclaimed growth in our economy, 7% all on the back of oil and gas and when the oil and gas has dried up, we now realised that we were actually growing at 2% at a population growth of 3.5%, so we were really not growing because we did not invest in the strategic sectors which has made other economies stronger” Ogbe said.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Mohammed Bello, enjoined Rico Gado not to neglect their corporate social responsibilities, assuring them that FCT is ready to partner with them.
“In this project, our partnership will be three fold: one we already have on ground massive land ear marked as grazing reserve, we are willing to partner with you to create a portion out of that grazing reserve where you will put cattle padox to encourage them to stay there and provide them with all the necessary support and facilities like the provision of extension farmers on a pilot bases so that we see if after a few years, they can make a difference. The success of that endeavour will make it easier for us to replicate it in other parts of the country.
Secondly we have a very important agric secretariat that provides a lot of extension services to the farmers of the six area councils. We will be willing to partner with you so as to target how to improve their live stock husbandry through the facilities available here.
Finally, we also have a Fadama programme which I am sure can key into what you are doing” said Bello.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara showered enconiums on Atiku, and assured him that what he was doing will benefit a long generations of Nigerian across board.
“For me, this actually speaks to the future of this country, the issue of feeding our citizens. No nation attains technological height without firstly devising ways of feeding its own citizens. We are not even talking about the economics of agriculture but we must feed our own people.
“I have said always that for me, corporation, big companies don’t generate wealth. Wealth is generated by small businesses. Any country where you find mammoth of small businesses is a prosperous country.
“It is not just in the upstream of it that people will benefit but cattle rearers, marketers, it will generate employment both directly and indirectly and for us involved in farming, I am sure they will find good customers in NASS” Dogara maintains.
The chairman Board of Directors, Rico Gado Nutrition Nigeria Limited, Song Abubakar Ahmed said that the event was a fulfillment of one of the wishes of Atiku Abubakar during the ground breaking ceremony of the Yola plant in 2013 where he said “I wish to state that after the successful take-off of this factory, we shall embark on similar projects in Abuja and subsequently in other regions of this country.
“The plant in Abuja is not only similar to the Yola plant that has an installed capacity of 20 tonnes per hour but also much larger with an installed capacity of 50 tonnes animal feed per hour” Ahmed said.
Good will messages were also presented by the Portuguese Ambassador to Nigeria António Pedro Rodrigues da Silva, a representative of Rico Gado Portugal Joaquin Da Silva, and the Sarki of Jiwa, the host community among others. The event attracted top echelon in agribusiness as well as high profile political stalwarts from the country.
Buhari, Obasanjo shun Atiku’s feed ground-breaking ceremony
By; Jacob Onjewu Dickson