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News Update (September 15, 2009 03:03 PM...)

Kwara based Africa's largest chicken farm to cost $400m


A revolution of a sort in chicken farming is underway in Kwara State where African Chicken Farm (ACF), a renowned Syrian agribusiness specialist is said to building a biggest farm in the continent.

In a report by Companies and Markets, the state government had invested 15 per cent of the capital in a public private partnership (PPP) venture with ACF to substantially expand poultry production in the northern state of Kwara.

The project is estimated to cover 700 hectares at a cost of about $400 million.

The initiative should get underway by the end of 2009 with the aim of producing 3 million poultry per year at full capacity. This will not only enable Nigeria to easily feed local demand but would give a real boost to export orientation, the report said.

The report forecast that the efforts made by Nigeria to enhance agricultural productivity will translate as solid supply and demand growth for almost the entire range of commodities covered throughout the forecast period.

Only beef consumption is predicted negative growth between 2009 and 2013, while the majority of goods are forecast to show double-digit year-on-year expansion, the report said.

The growth of PPPs in agriculture may enable a greater spread of investment over the longer term, as well as helping to better align private entrepreneurism with state developmental objectives.

However, a serious caveat to future investment presents itself in the form of Nigerias recent financial market difficulties. As an economy highly dependent on fossil fuel exports, Nigeria is particularly vulnerable to external shocks, such as the oil price slumps which began in the latter half of 2008. Moreover, a depreciating currency juxtaposed with lower levels of capitalisation - as investors pull their money out of the local economy - may serve to reduce the bullishness of the report's outlook.

Prior to the rise of the domestic oil industry as the countrys most important sector, Nigerian agriculture was able to keep the country self sufficient in many important food and cash crops. However, as oil revenues have poured in, the farming sector has been neglected, resulting on the need for net food imports.

Fuel prices have taken a battering since record highs recorded in 2008 as the world economy continues its downward trajectory, thus Nigerias ability to fund imports has waned; a dynamic that has been exacerbated by domestic financial market woes and production cutbacks in major exporting countries, such as Brazil, on which Nigeria are reliant for staple consumption. This has resulted in the Yar Adua administration focusing on efforts to breathe life back into the local industry so that the nation can again rely on its own community to cater to its staple needs.

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