Sitting on about 72 acres of land in Oluponna, on the outskirts of Iwo in Ayedire Local Government Area of Osun State, Triton Aqua Africa Limited is a testimony of the treasure hidden in agriculture.
At the first cropping of the catfish farm section of the company recently, it became manifest that, with emphasis on agriculture, the economic fortunes of Nigeria would improve rapidly.
At the exercise, which had in attendance the head of the community, Olupo of Oluponna, Oba Emmanuel Onaolapo Oyeleso Oyebamiji, and some of his chiefs, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Raju Samantani, explained that 40 tonnes of catfish were to be cropped and such cropping was expected twice within 10 months.
Supported by the Director of Project and Business Head, Poultry, Yashpe A. Jais and Oby Inuwa, respectively, the CEO highlighted the exploits in Ghana with a similar project that started about six years ago.
He acknowledged the huge market potential Nigeria has over other countries around the globe and assured that the production of catfish from the farm would increase from the initial 40 tonnes to between 80 and 100 tonnes per cropping within the next five years, with an expected financial yield of between N60 and N65 million within the same period.
Samtani, looking at the challenges encountered in the course of establishing the farm, which he described as a pilot project, maintained that the challenges of access road to the farm, power, water, documentation and others were encountered almost daily, but they were being outcome to realise the success story being told now.
He further explained that the marketing network his company was employing while they were engaged in importation of fish had become handy as channels of marketing for the sale of their products.
He also said that the farm, as part of its expansion vision, would include tilapia farming, which has taken root in Ghana. Towards the actualisation of this vision, he said some young Nigerians were already undergoing training in that aspect in Ghana.
Expressing confidence that the farming business would boost the economy of the country, the CEO said be also foresaw a boom in employment generation and implored government and the host community as well as the media to help in translating the dream into reality.
The Oba, in his remarks, commended the company, which he said had brought development to his community. He recalled that the cropping activity he was called to participate in was the second time he would visit the farm for the purpose of inaugurating projects, noting that the first time was when he came to launch the company’s hatchery. Oba Oyebamiji, who is also a farmer, commended the state government’s policy that guarantees an enabling environment for such projects to thrive.
He was particularly grateful to the company for the employment created for members of his community and pledged his support for the company’s growth.
A Federal Government-licensed producer of rice seedlings, the monarch lamented that the current political uncertainty had hampered the distribution of his products and called on Nigerian government to be decisive on the much talked-about general elections so as to ensure stability in the polity and by extension the economy.
He said there were a lot of things adversely affected by the prevailing political situation, noting that the moment the elections are held and the results announced, the tension in the country would be over and everything would be fine.
The Oba also remarked that the rice revolution embarked upon by the incumbent Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, had started to yield positive results, manifesting in the stability of the market price of imported rice and expressed the hope that soon locally produced rice would upstage imported ones.