By Philip Yatai
The World Bank-supported Framework for Responsible and Inclusive Land-Intensive Agricultural Investments (FRILIA) project, has the potential of attracting agricultural investors to Kaduna State, some agricultural investors said on Tuesday.
The investors predicted this possibility in Kaduna while fielding questions from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the end of a training on developed toolkits for the FRILIA project, organised by Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission.
They observed that with FRILIA, investors were adequately motivated as all the necessary requirements for successful investment, would be on ground.
One of the investors, Mr Emmanuel Michael, Farm Operation Manager, Tomato Jos, said FRILIA toolkits had streamlined business operations and would significantly help investors in addressing investment challenges.
He added that the toolkits equally made investment processes clearer and strategic, as against the haphazard processes in the past.
He called on Kaduna state government to strengthen the security architecture in locations habouring companies and industries in the state, to ensure safety of investments.
Also, Mr Abubakar Yakubu, a Director with a Kaduna-based agro-allied company, Illaj and Company International Ltd, told NAN that FRILIA would transform the agricultural business environment in the state.
According to him, the project is coming at a time when investors are looking for safer ways to invest in the agricultural sector in Kaduna state as a result of the state’s comparative advantage in the sector.
“Kaduna State is the leading state in maize and ginger production in the country; the sixth in soya beans production and the fifth or sixth in rice production.
“The land mass and the huge population equally give Kaduna state an investment edge over other states in the country,” he said.
NAN reports that the Kaduna State Government has adopted the FRILIA principles in the implementation of its World Bank-supported State Economic Transformation Programme-for-Result (PforR).
The Programme Manager, Mrs Maryam Dangaji, explained that the FRILIA principles were aimed at mainstreaming international best practices into the development of agricultural business in the state, for sustainable economic growth and development.
Damgaji added that the principles equally encourage shared benefits between private investors and host communities, just as it boosts confidence of large-scale agricultural investors in Kaduna state.
One of the facilitators of the training, Mr Kehinde Johnson, said that the engagement with the investors was to bring them onboard to understand FRILIA and its benefits.
Johnson, a Business and Legal Consultant, said that FRILIA was designed to make agricultural business much easier and seamless to operate in the state.
“The toolkits and templates will guide investors in all engagement processes, be it with the government, community or farmers, and how to address grievances in a timely manner,” he said
He assured investors that FRILIA was about creating enabling environment for agricultural investors to operate, adding that improving security, environment, health, and safety, were critical part of its implementation.
He commended Kaduna state government for being a pacesetter in implementing the FRILIA principles, and for sensitising relevant stakeholders that would make the project a success.
He said the successful implementation of the project will make other states in the country develop interest in diversifying their economy to cover agriculture, using Kaduna state as a benchmark for implementation.