Nigeria : Staple Crop Processing Zone in Kogi – another form of land grabbing?

Under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Nigeria developped the idea of Staple Crop Processing Zones. An investor brings a food processing plant, so the idea, the farmers sell their produce to him/her. The farmers remain independant and keep their land. Is this a model for the future or ajust another myth?
i-resource reporter Andrew Iloh visited the site.

Find here all the facts the i-resource reporter has found out :
SCPZ_FACT_Sheet

Find here the information provided by the investors
Kogi SCPZ Investment Brief

THE AGRICULTURAL TRANSFORMATION AGENDA – Background

The Nigerian government’s effort to revamp the agriculture sector hope to ensure food security, job creation, diversify the economy and enhance foreign exchange earnings. This has led to the development of the agricultural transformation agenda (ATA) which is aimed at making agriculture work for Nigerians especially rural farmers such that it becomes not just a development programme but also an income generating commercial activity. If this would be achieved, the technology transfer sub-system with the mandate of extension services to the farmers need to be strengthened as well as create crops processing zones where these crops can be processed into ready made goods and products.
staplecrop-processing-zone

Stable crops processing zones (SCPZ) in Nigeria

This idea focuses on attracting private sector agribusinesses to set up processing plants in zones of high food production, to process commodities into food products. This would be enabled according to government provide appropriate fiscal, investment and infrastructure policies for Staple Crops Processing Zones. One of such zones is the Cassava processing zone in Odo-Ape, Kabba- Bunu local government, Kogi state.

The processing zone has been given to the Cargill. According to a well informed source at the ministry of Agriculture in Kogi state, the Cargill Agricultural Production and Processing Project (CAPPP) is an investment to support the Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ), This project means that the company Cargill has successfully become the first private sector investor  which is collaborating with the Kogi State SCPZ and the Federal government to support the agricultural transformation strategy set out by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and supported by the Kogi State Government.

30000-ha-cleared

As a demonstration of the support for this programme, the Kogi state government has already conceded about 250 hectares of Odo-Ape land to the company and has marked about 30,000 hectares more for the company.

The Question is: what implications does these massive land acquisition for large commercial farming have on the Odo-Ape community? Firsthand information gotten from the community shows that the community/ SCPZ issue has been on for the past 3 years and even before any negotiations the government had already taken 250 hectares of land from them, sighting “pilot demonstration” plans.

The villagers have complained to have lost their farm lands, their food crops and cash crops from the land used as the pilot demonstration farms. They have also claimed that in as much as an environmental and social impact assessment has been conducted, there are indications that none of the promises made to them have been fulfilled. Reports also have it that the land in question is the most fertile land in the community and as at today no community member has access to the farms. More worrisome is the fact that the government of Kogi had planted cassava on the land as part of the demonstration project and up till now the cassava has not been harvested by them and have not even allowed the real owners of the land to benefit from their land by harvesting the cassava for their use.

According to some members of the Odo-ape community, part of the SCPZ agreement is that the host communities maintain their land and contribute the staple crop to the processing company however, they have shown some concerns that this might not be the case since they have already given up their land and there are no plans for now for their contributions.

After 3 years - no progress in the community

After 3 years – no progress in the community

Again, the locals have lost food crops, cash crops and as at today not a kobo has been paid to them as compensation. The surprising thing is the fact the locals have no choice but to embrace the project as the all feel that it might bring good fortunes to their village.

Unfortunately there is nothing on site to show for the media hype of both the federal government and the Cargill company and since the first signs of the project seems not be right, is there a possibility that the so called “good fortune” the Odo-Ape people feel is coming to their village will end up been a deserter? Only time will tell.

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