An open letter to the Northern Governors Forum.
My Dear Governors,
Northern Nigeria as it stands today, will benefit immensely from a RESTRUCTURED NIGERIA. A restructured Nigeria, will help you to look away from the dying fossil fuel and look inward to enable you harness the great resources God and nature endowed you with.
It might interest you to note, that the whole stretch of the estimated 64mliion hectares of the Northern Nigeria Land mass are Acres of Diamond untapped. Acres of Diamonds, that can yield ten times more foreign exchange revenue for Nigeria, than we currently earn from the crude oil exports out of Nigeria.
Where do I even begin to address this huge untapped opportunities. How do I begin to address this issues to enable your eyes to be widely opened to this throve of wealth you have all abandoned for the peanut that flows from the black oil. Okay, lets start from the least.
LETS LOOK AT JUST ONE MINUSCULE AGRO-ITEM—THE DATE PALM FRUIT, TO BUTTRESS MY ASSERTIONS.
THE DATE PALM-EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1.The global date fruit production as at 2018 is put at over 9.3million tons, with a global market value of over $26.5billion. Egypt is the leading nation in date fruits production, with annual output of over 1.3million tons.
2.The global Date Palm Production is expected to grow to over 13.5million tons by 2025
3.Interestingly, Nigeria that has one of the best climatic and demographic advantages that can enable her to cultivate and produce date fruits twice a year only produces about 21,000 tons of date fruits per annum, whereas our domestic consumption is estimated to be at around `105,000 metric tons per annum.
4.The average yield of a hectare of date palm plantation is 10-12 tons of date fruits. In some agri-technologically advanced countries like Israel, even in the kibbutz and Negev desert , a hectare of the date palm plantation yields as much as 22tons per hectare.
5.Date Palms are grown in Northern Nigeria states of Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Gombe, Taraba, Borno, etc.
6.To cultivate a hectare of the Medjool dates specie requires about $5,000/N1,800,000.00
7.To cover the domestic supply gap of over 84,000 tons of the date fruits, which is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8% annually and create room for export of the product, we need to cultivate enough hectares of land that can yield up to 500,000 -1,000,000 tons of date fruits annually by 2026
8.We must Cultivate 50,000-100,000 new hectares of the Medjool specie of the Date Palm trees. We must also cultivate over 7,000,000- 14,300,000 trees of these sweet flavouring specie
9.This new clustered (40 hectares per cluster) of 50,000-100,000 hectares of date palm plantations set up in these identified 15 states in the North will require about 2,500 units of global best Engineered Modern Packing Factories to process it for domestic consumption and exports.
10.The cumulative costs that it will take Nigeria/Nigerians to meet and cover this huge gap over the next 4-6 years is N644,541,000,000.00 (Six Hundred and Forty Four Billion, Five Hundred and Forty One Million Naira Only ) capital investments, that is wholly private sector driven under unique PPP schemes.
11.This scheme/ project fully and sustainably executed and delivered by December 2026, will add conservatively over $3.45billion/ N1.242trillion annually for the next 100 years and help to boost real sector earnings and Nigeria’s GDP
BENEFITS OF THIS SCHEME
This will create over 200,000 date palm farm-gate entrepreneurs, 5,000 fully trained and armed desert farm gate rangers’ 2,500 date fruits processing and packing factories, 25,000 factory jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs.
This will yield massive tax revenues, ramp up the IGR collectibles, grow the rural economies and bring massive all inclusive growth that touches those at the lowest base of the economic pyramid.
Citrus, Legumes, Vegetables etc. can also be intercropped at the date palm plantation as short term Cashflow needs of the farmers.
This project will help us to push back on desert encroachment in 15 states in the North using this 14million date trees.
This scheme/ project fully and sustainably executed and delivered by December 2026, will add conservatively over $2.85billion/ N1.031trillion annually to the real sector earnings and boost the Nigeria GDP
This scheme and project will help save Nigeria over N86billion or $239million that is wasted annually importing date fruits and syrups into Nigeria & generate huge non-oil forex
Every of the 40 Hectares cluster of Date Palm Orchard with all the supporting infrastructure-light, water-industrial borehole, foliage and processing plant, can house a cluster dairy farm of 100-200 dairy cows under an agro-pastoral arrangement that solves the life-stock/Ruga head ache of the FGN. This 2,500 Date Palm Orchard Clusters will help us to create fully serviced and equipped, 2,500 dairy centers that can house cumulative mixed breed 500,000 dairy cows that can yield over 4 million tons of milk, 200,000 tons of cheese and create over 15,000 jobs in that sub-sector alone.
This will help to save at least a quarter of the amount Nigeria spends to import milk , which is put at over $1.5billion pa.
This scheme will help the 15 northern governors, whose states are being ravaged by desert encroachment to set up 15,000 man strong, motorized and fully armed agro-rangers that are funded and maintained from profits and levies that are generated from these clustered date palm orchards and dairy centers.
The 15 state governments in the North will earn huge IGR from these centers and help to ward off the incursions of BH, Bandits and ISWAP, since, they will have extra 15,000 fully armed indigenes, who will man the farm-gates to contained with beside the Army and other security agencies.
Rather, than fight and contend against SW Amotekun, the Core 15 Northern states, can set up their own regional security architecture build around the above listed agro enterprise that ushers in security, job creation, industry, checkmates deforestation and prosperity for her people.
RESTRUCTURING NIGERIA WILL BENEFIT THE NORTH THE MORE.
Someone needs to help us pass this letter and message to Northern state governors and other Northern leaders. Some of us will provide them with pro-bono advisory services, dwell amongst them and help them to grow this prosperity if they accept to do the right things and allow this jungle to work for the benefits off all the stakeholders. Whenever you read in the good books about a land flowing with milk and honey, it is talking about a land filled with rich dairy farms and huge date palm orchards. The North has great potentials to become a land flowing with milk and honey. Please lets all join hands to make this happen
God bless us
Dr Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri, FICA, MIRA