Increased awareness on the growth potential of agriculture, oragnisations such as USAID and Oando and its JV partners have invested in improving agricultural practices in Nigeria.
In 2015, Oando joined its JV partners (NNPC and Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC) for the first time, to support the Green Rivers Project (GRP)/Farmers Day celebration. Since then, the company has been an active participant of the initiative.
The GRP aims to increase agricultural productivity and prevent further deterioration of the soil through the use of better farming techniques; enhance farmer’s income.
It is also meant to improve the quality of life of farmers through the adoption of improved and sustainable farming systems, thereby contributing to the improvement of the livelihoods of the households in NAOC operational communities in Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo, and Delta states.
In commemoration of the 2017 GRP, JV Partners; Oando Plc, NNPC and NAOC held the annual Framers Day celebration in Igbogene, Bayelsa State.
Speaking at the event, the CEO, Oando Energy Resources, Olapade Durotoye, said: “We have taken it upon ourselves to re-orientate members of our host communities particularly the unemployed youths to embrace agriculture as a viable future for the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large. The hard truth is that beyond the oil and gas sector, greater opportunities abound in other sectors of the economy and we must take advantage of this.”
Oando acknowledges the untiring efforts shown by farmers in providing sustenance for the country’s ever-growing population, providing raw materials to the nation’s industries, and contributing substantially to the nation’s foreign exchange earnings through its corporate social responsibility initiatives.
“Today, through our GRP program the joint venture partners – NAPIMS/NAOC/OANDO have set the pace for our peers to follow. We have successfully sensitised our community based farmers on the importance of agriculture through the introduction of high yielding planting materials, fisheries activities, and formation of Cooperative Societies to access our Micro-Credit scheme,” Durotoye said.
To date the Joint Venture partners have trained over 5000 youths and women in various vocations, distributed millions of material/improved seedling to assist farmers in their agricultural production, in the quest to increase food security, provide livelihood for people, and steer the communities towards economic independence.
Agriculture is the backbone of any country, and plays an undeniable strategic role in the economic growth of both developed and developing countries. In Nigeria, agriculture currently contributes about 38.4% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and is the second highest contributor to the country’s GDP.
Despite underwhelming government investment in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, the commerce remains resilient.