Rice farmer underscores investment opportunities in value chain

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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Determined to contribute to Nigeria’s green economy through investments in the rice value chain, an agriculture entrepreneur has presented opportunities worth millions of naira to a cross section of Nigerians.

Paul Ofana Santus, a farmer and Chief Executive Officer of Santuscom Agro-hub, the producers of Ogoja Rice in Cross River State, south-south Nigeria, held an investment exhibition in Calabar capital city on the opportunities for local investors in the sector.

Santus remarked, “Santuscom Agro-hub is an agribusiness consortium that caught the concept and direction of the present administration’s mantra of economic diversification”.

“There is need to explore the non-oil sector for revenue generation, job and wealth creation other than the mono-commodity called oil that our nation had over depended for more than five decades. The company commenced operations to boost the economy of Cross River State and the nation at Large,” stated Santus.

Increasing tonnages

Presenting the opportunities to some selected Nigerians, the entrepreneur stated that the brand Ogoja Rice sits on 1,000 hectares of land in Yala local government area of in the northern district of Cross River with the potential for expansion.

He urged “Ogoja Rice sits on 1,000 hectares and we are already expanding to 5,000 hectares. We are currently producing 30 tonnes daily and working assiduously to meet market demands, which means that we have to produce 300 to 400 tonnes per day”.

“That is why we are opening space for investors to come in under the ‘crowd funding platform’ and benefit from the attractive and guaranteed return on investment of 40 percent. It is geared towards mitigating food security as a result of the covid-19 pandemic” the CEO stated.

The new oil

In a brief remark, the Sir Ben Ayade, the governor of Cross River State, commended the young entrepreneur for investing time, energy and finances in rice farming and production describing agriculture as the new oil for the Nigerian economy.

Governor Ayade, who was represented at the event by Rosemary Archibong the Commissioner for Commerce stated, “our main drive is agro-industrial development. Cross River has all the essentials needed to grow agriculture and that is why we have invested heavily to have a rice seedling plant in the state”.

He urged other young people to take advantage of the various opportunities in the rice value chain as well as other agricultural products and create an economy for themselves, stressing “rice has become a staple in most Nigerian Homes. Ogoja Rice has the capacity to turn around the fortunes of other farmers as it is expanding”.

“So, I urge you would be young billionaires, to see the agricultural sector as the pivot for your economic growth rather than focus on the search for white collar job,” Ayade urged.

Crowd Funding

In a presentation on the financial security of potential investors, Peter Agi, a financial expert explained that the benefits of Crowd funding, which is another way of business financing different from the stock market, to the gathering.

Agi said “crowd funding allows the business to source for finance from family, friends, or a group of people with similar interest. It has minimal risks and we know there are risks involved in businesses. However, Santuscom Agro-hub has taken the right step to invite Cross River people to buy-in to this venture and insured their investment through Royal Exchange Insurance PLC”.

Highlights of the exhibition were testimonials and goodwill messages from politicians, members of the business community, distributors of the Ogoja Rice brand as well as representatives of the Nigeria Export Processing Council and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL.

Ime N