• Holds annual public lecture to commemorate Independence
By FRANK OYAKHILOME
IN line with the BLW Nation annual ‘Reachout Nigeria’ programme of touching lives through the Corporate Social Responsibility events, Christ Embassy Zone 2 Lagos, organized a public lecture tagged ‘Agriculture and Exportation’, taking advantage of the vast opportunity in the agricultural value chain in their 2016 edition.
The Zonal Director, Pastor Vale Odu-Thomas in his opening remarks reflected on how the programme commenced years ago, when it seems that ‘we are the only one celebrating the our Country Nigeria, adding that ‘our Man of God, Pastor Chris made it clear that Nigerians are the one to build Nigeria.
Odu-Thomas stressed further that “Reach out Nigeria” was an answer to a quest for reaching the citizens with the word of God that will build them up. He said, this quest further led to meeting the needs of the populace through Corporate Social Responsibility via renovation of schools, Police Stations, provision of street lights amongst others.
Aside from the BLW Nation citizens in the country adorning themselves with the Nigeria colours, the CSR has become a major part of celebrating the Independence Day which of course is also observed during the BLW Nation President Birthday celebration in December. With scriptural references from the story of Nehemiah, Odu-Thomas makes the teeming audience know that Nigerian are the ones that will be responsible to build the country the way it should be.
The Christ Embassy Zone 2 Director emphasized how blessed the country Nigeria is, stating that that the country is blessed with diverse agricultural resources and human resources and reiterated that there is no agricultural produce that cannot in this country, except those grown in the artic regions of the world. He thus called on the audience to take advantage of the current diversification to agriculture which so vast and profitable.
Odu-Thomas believes that Rhapsody of Reality programmes will bring the Nigeria leader and her people to think right as it will transform their mind and change their mental attitude and course everyone to celebrate. He bemoans the ongoing issues within the country that Nigeria cannot feed themselves with the vast lands and resources because Nigeria is not a country of consumers but a country of producers.
He called on the BLW Citizens to take advantage of agriculture and export of agro-produce, processes or raw, as these two factors are what will move the nation forward and thus move individual forward. He counseled the participants to see beyond just attending a public lecture but to open their minds to see and seize opportunities to be prosperous and to make the nation prosperous as he expects many to come back next year with testimonies of increase.
One of the facilitator, the Chief Executive officer of BBBagro Nigeria Limited, Kingsley Nyong, an agribusiness expert who had practice Cotton Farming in North Carolina in the United States for Six year before coming to Nigeria to run his farms who spoke on the topic “Agriculture is the door way to prosperity”, re-quoting the Philosopher Aristotle words that ‘ the root of education is bitter, but the fruits thereof is sweet’, said that the ‘root of agriculture is bitter, but the fruit thereof is sweet’.
Nyong stressed a five point step-by-step way of creating wealth in agriculture business, he said Nigerians should go back to the roots by embracing the field and get educated in farming & its benefits. He noted that stakeholders in the mainstream do not have information of farming inputs and outputs. Using the Tomatoes, absoluta disease attack earlier in the year in Nigeria, he noted that at the same time in Spain there were so many Tomatoes that they threw them in their streets.
The BBBagro boss decry the need for proper ‘Mine and Data Mapping, explaining with these Nigeria would not be the only highest producer of Cassava and ‘garri’ a bye product of the farm produce is expensive in the market. He also called for industrialization for packaging and processing, knowing that in the international market raw food is less valuable than processed food. Thus, he advised the audience to practice and practice and practice.
The National President of National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Pastor Tola Faseru, speaking on “ Salvaging the Nigeria Economy through Agro-Export’ beckoned on the participants that the time is now, the opportunity is huge’ when it comes to agro-export and agriculture generally. In his presentation, He said a country is said to be experiencing positive balance of trade or surplus if the value of its EXPORTS is higher than the value of its imports. It is therefore imperative upon governments to do as much as possible to have a positive balance of trade.
Faseru, who is also the Executive Chairman of Colossus Investment Limited, noted that before the discovery of crude oil, each region was noted for producing certain cash crops in commercial exportable quantities. The Western region- Cocoa;the Northern region- Groundnut ; the Eastern region- Oil Palm and the Mid- West- Rubber,
The NCAN President added that Agriculture continued to be the mainstay of the economy even after independence contributing about 65 per cent to GDP and representing almost 70 per cent of our total exports and generated much revenue for the government, its surplus was used by government to develop the basic infrastructure needed for long term development e.g. the Western Nigerian Television (WNTV), Cocoa House Ibadan in the Western Region. Adding that Agriculture gives one opportunity not to be jobless
Further in his speech, Faseru noted that Jute Bags is stipulated as the most preferred bags for packaging in most agro- commodities contract yet no company produces it locally and thus call on all Nigerians to make Nigeria great again, boost our non-oil exports earnings and promote the Nigerian Agro-exports industry.The Nigeria Export Promotion Council representative, Mr Oluomon Akinwe spoke on the ‘Dynamics of Exportation’ led the participants through the procedures dos and don’ts of agro-export. He called on Nigeria to take advantage of making more dollars from the current situation, than weeping over the hardship it is causing. He reiterated that ‘to grow at home you must sell abroad’. Other speakers dealt with burning issues in the agribusiness sector.