With six geo-political regions into which Nigeria is delineated, the contribution to the national economy should have been on the basis of comparative advantage. But this is not the case; more worrisome is the near absence of attention given to harness the potentials agriculture presents in each region, and dare say in each state.
Time and again, the call had remained strong and well meaning that individuals, corporate bodies and government take a decisive step to return attention to agricultural activities, grow the sector and make it a major revenue earner to the national government. At present, agriculture contributes merely 20% of the Nigeria total GDP, second to oil. This makes a minimal of 42 percent of a vast land of about 82 million hectare of Nigeria’s total land area of 91 million hectares found to be arable abysmally cultivated.
Agricultural potential is remained the needed revenue source that is underdeveloped or untapped. The multiplier effect the sector could contribute is taken lightly. But it is the only source that guarantees availability of more food on the table for the growing population as well as provision of raw materials for manufacturing concerns.
One such person has heeded the call. And with his FIBICLAP integrated farm, Deacon Clapton Ogolo had confidently filled the gap, doing the very best to become one of the largest farms privately owned in Rivers State with it products visible on the market.
Like every business endeavour that starts small often times, FIBICLAP integrated farms began on a small scale with the idea owner employing all farming principles, knowledge and techniques to set up his poultry with a large stock of birds and the ponds have different species of fishes.
Initially, the effort which started in 1991 on hired sites owned by the Agricultural development project-ADP at Rumodomaya and the Rivers state university of science and technology’s farm sites was confronted with so much challenge. But the personal effort was concerted with a commitment to a single and overriding goal. And that was to contribute genuinely to the availability of agricultural produce of food and live stock to every class of people in the society.
Consistent effort saw the farm grew from a small farm on hired sites to become one of the biggest singly owned agricultural farms in Rivers state with a permanent site in Woji. The farm produce is also filling the agricultural need in the south-south region of Nigeria.
Aside the availability of farm produce from FIBICLAP integrated farm in the market and households the idea owner has devoted to building capacity of youths and women in the host community. The conviction is hinged on the fact that if more local capacity is developed, it will increase the number of those whose interests are ignited towards agriculture. And even if it were for subsistence farming, the trainees would have solved their personal substance food needs and reduce the pressure on prices of goods.
It is no doubting the fact that these efforts attracted the attention of the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency, RSSDA to the farm. And the visit of the executive director of the agency, Mr. Noble Pepple, this far, becomes an all important endorsement on the singular effort of Deacon Clapton Ogolo.
With explanations from Deacon Ogolo on how the farm had faired, its market share control and competitive advantage, Mr. Pepple was conducted round the facility of all the different ponds that have catfishes, tilapias and mullets including the section for the fingerlings. He was also showed round the poultry of birds, the feed mills, and the pineapple and vegetation farms. The farm has cement cast ponds and other naturally built up ponds which provide the fishes a natural habitat to thrive.
Impressed with what he saw, Mr. Pepple observed that a cursory effort had been taken to nurture the FIBICLAP integrated farm. And he expressed the desire that more people should get involved in farming activities to compliment government effort in t he sector as FIBICLAP integrated farm was doing. His conviction was that such effort would stem the perennial food scarcity experienced in the state.
Mr. Pepple noted that FIBICLAP integrated farm’s effort is in tandem with what RSSDA is doing in the sector which is made good by the recent signing of a pact with the Rivers State University of Science and Technology to support in the training of agriculture experts as well as encourage agriculture research. He opined that RSSDA would corroboration with the farm.
FIBICLAP integrated farm, according to Deacon Ogolo, is a lead consultant and had contributed to the establishment of a prototype of the Soughai farm in the state. He asserted that Rivers State has good soil and favourable climatic condition that ensure adequate reward to any person who was involved in agriculture. His believes was un-swerved that FIBICLAP integrated farm would gladly link to the hob of RSSDA farming programmes.
He however, listed the lack of access to fund, poor electricity supply and the problem associated with the sourcing for chicks that takes the entrepreneurs to Owerri, Ibadan and Jos. But expressed the hope that FIBICLAP integrated farm was doing everything possible to be a one stop place for the supply of chicks in the state.