Photo by Abraham Falodun
A Nigerian businessman and Public Affairs Analyst, Bestman Nze-Jumbo has urged Nigerians to embrace training as they seek to enter into the Agricultural Sector as it would enable them better their fortunes and that of the country.
Mr. Nze-Jumbo was speaking during an exclusive interview with The Boss where he highlighted the advantages of an Agric-focused training programme that he is organising for practitioners in the sector, scheduled for Johannesburg, South Africa on October 24-28 2016.
Titled Afri-Agro Industrialization Training Conference with its theme as “Effecting the intra-Africa Trade Trajectory through a working partnership between RSA & Nigeria”, the programme which has been endorsed by the Nigerian Consulate in South Africa, seeks to provide a platform for exchange of ideas between Nigerian practitioners and organisations and their South African counterparts.
According to him “Nigeria has got something that could sustain this country even better than oil, which is Agriculture. Based on my experience in South Africa, I have discovered that South Africa is one of the most developed countries in the world in the Agricultural sector. So it occurred to me that if we take Nigerians on an experiential training to South Africa, they can come back and impact knowledge.
“It is not enough to just be a farmer, being a knowledgeable farmer will take you places. It will invariably save you money, increase your yield, reduce your stress and ultimately add to your profit margin and that is the driving force behind this programme. We also want to get the policy makers and those in the academia better informed about the industry. For them to understand the modern techniques that are now available in the industry”
“ A lot of South Africans want to come to Nigeria to invest, so we are creating a platform, a meeting point, for them. We take the technology they have and they bring funds to us apart from the knowledge and that is what this Afri-Agro programme is about. It will cover livestock, piggery, poultry, fishery and crops.
He noted that since the Federal government and States are keen on poverty alleviation, a project like this would actually enhance that objective “Imagine, if each state partners with some banks through a poverty alleviation programme to send 50 bright graduates to this programme. They will be well-equipped knowledge wise and when they return they are given some seed funds to begin their businesses, just imagine the multiplier effect.They will also connect with mentors that will monitor their progress and help them grow. This will mean that you have created employment for these ones, they in turn will create employment for others, apart from adding to our food needs. This can actually benefit a critical mass”
He said the training would be more practical than theoretical, as participants would have the opportunity to physically visit farms and other related companies to see first-hand how things are done.
According to him, the Programme, packaged by Afternoon Communications South Africa, Image Expressions Nigeria in conjunction with Gosiame Agriculture Projects and some South African farmers, according to him will cost N700,000 per participant which covers airfare, accommodation and two meals a day.
Some of the expected outcomes include “Building bridges and establishing collaborations between agricultural practitioners in Nigeria and South Africa, Exposing delegates to building block of successful agricultural enterprises, establishing working relationship to facilitate skill transfer and mentoring, show the different forms and advantages of value chain, packaging etc and Connecting South African Agricultural successes to Nigerian needs.
Nze-Jumbo who owns Chops, one of the most popular Nigerian restaurants and fun spots in South Africa said that the response has been encouraging.
He noted that the programme has already attracted the interest of the Federal Ministry Agriculture, State Governments, State Assemblies as well as some top farmers and institutions.