By Olufemilade Oyinade
A French Company, Fan Milk Plc. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ogun State Government on the production of raw materials for dairy products 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 the key sector and the Administration was working towards ensuring that the State becomes the food basket of the Nation.
“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 egg, poultry and cassava production in the Country and rice, kola nuts, cocoa and cotton production in the South West. Our fish production has become a model in the continent.
“We see ourselves becoming the food basket of this Nation, and this ties in 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, CBN’s Anchor Borrowers and the FADAMA GUYS programmes, adding that more than 30,000 people have so far benefited from the programmes.
While pledging his Government’s 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 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 Plc. in its more than five decades of existence in the Country, expressing hope that the signing of the MoU would help the State in its human capacity building as well as job creation.
“This is how we want you to see this partnership. It has to go beyond what Fan Milk Plc. could get out of this. How much capacity building are we going to see with this? How many jobs are we going to see with this? Because we all know that as we reduce unemployment, we will see a positive benefit in the reduction in crime rate,” 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 the production of raw materials for diary products would not only create jobs, but 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, who further disclosed that the MoU was a new step in corporate alliance with one of the most successful states in the Country, added that when fully operational, the partnership would help create job opportunities for the people of the State and also help develop the modern rearing of local cows and production of dairy in the State.
He commended the State for its performance in the agriculture and education sectors of the State’s economy, expressing happiness for seeing a French company, in addition to others, 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 State to tap into its agricultural potentials for the development of the State and Country and to also contribute to the employment drive of the present Administration and education of the farming community in the State, and to enjoy the infrastructure that was readily available for investors in the State.