– PARTNERS SOUTH AFRICAN FIRM, AGRI CROWDY
By Kennedy Iwuoha
Orlu Zone in Imo State is set to become a major player in the agricultural sector within the ECOWAS sub-region, as Senator Osita Izunaso, who represents the senatorial district in the upper chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly, has struck over ₦2 Billion deal with a reputable South African agricultural company, Agri Crowdy, for the training and empowerment of about 1,200 Orlu indigenes in the various agricultural fields.
Already, expatriates from Agri Crowdy in South Africa have commenced some pilot projects in the Zone, and have also held series of workshops with the leadership Senator Izunaso’s organization, Kpakpando Foundation, and concluded studies on the arability of the different soils in parts of Orlu Zone to the growth of different high-value crops.
Speaking during a workshop organized recently, the lawmaker highlighted that the essence of the initiative is to complement the efforts of the State Government under Governor Hope Uzodimma in addressing unemployment and ensuring food security through robust agricultural programs. He said that the 1,200 beneficiaries will be drawn from the 12 local government areas in the Zone, with each LGA bringing 100 persons.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Agri Crowdy, Franklin Ngoforo, noted that the mandate is to create wealth and expand job opportunities by intervening and facilitating job and wealth creation through the entire agricultural value chain in Orlu Zone.
According to him, “Seed multiplication farms, livestock and fish breeding centers, have been set up to facilitate access to high-yielding, disease-resistant inputs. Also, hectares of land have been acquired in parts of the Zone and will soon be put under cultivation which will be allotted to the beneficiaries trained as ‘agripreneurs’.
“Urban agriculture would also be an integral part of this initiative to train service providers and extension workers. Our company, Agri Crowdy, will also play a role as an offtaker to ensure quick access to market for the outputs. We are making Orlu Zone the food basket of Nigeria,” he said.
The CEO of Agri Crowdy Farms, Rochelle Petersen, in her presentation clarified that there is a difference between farming and the business of farming. She argued that, with the studies which her company has concluded, the lowest-hanging fruit to lift majority of the people in Orlu Zone out of poverty is to train them on the business of farming. For her, the enormous agricultural potentials of the Zone are sufficient to create a new generation of people who are gainfully engaged and who can participate effectively in national and global economy.