In a bid to assist farmers to grow their yields optimally, an indigenous firm, Candel Company limited has established an agrochemical manufacturing plant in Lagos. The plant, which is located at the heart of Lekki free zone, has been described as a significant milestone capable of solving employment problems in Nigeria. Speaking at the official commissioning ceremony held recently, the managing director of the company, Mr. Emmanuel Kattie said the establishment of the agro factory was significant in view of the poor yield experienced by farmers in the last few years, which he says, could be attributed to the substandard quality of agrochemicals and allied inputs imported to the country.
He said the quick intervention by the firm, which is aimed at helping farmers, should be seen as timely considering the new administration preparedness to focus its energy on agriculture as one of the ways needed to generate employment for the teeming Nigerian youth. He
explained that the firm whose phase has just been concluded would generate 3,000 jobs upon completion. According to him, the plant has the capacity to produce any type of agrochemicals that will suit the needs of farmers as the products have been formulated in line with the climatic conditions as well as the specific crop, which the farmers intend to grow.
Commenting further, Ka tie said the agro firm is ready to offer formulated products that are consistent not only in quality but also in the level of performance adding that it had already invested much, capacity wise, in order to deliver on expectations. He noted that as part of effort geared towards optimizing capacity, the company had entered partnership with a leading Chinese university, which has promised to assist it in setting up laboratory facilities alongside the training of manpower.
He states” We have invested billions of naira on the project and we intend to further expand as we progress. This plant alone has the capacity to deliver 80million litres of agrochemical annually which is expected to feed Nigeria and the West Africa market”.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the company, Mr.Charles Anudu while lauding the Lagos state government for providing the enabling environment said he is convinced that the new plant has what it takes to compete to meet the demands of farmers through the provision of quality formulated products that are at par with international standard. Anudu explained that with the establishment of the plant, Nigeria would lose the spending risk of $400 million being expended on agrochemical importation.
He said” We have just completed the first phase of this multi-billion naira project, which can deliver up to 80 million litres of formulated products per annum, enough to make meet the total Nigerian demand. Our facility is positioned both for Candel’s own distribution networks in Nigeria and Ghana and for contract manufacturing for other operators in Nigeria and abroad. We can produce and ship any order to reach any part of Nigeria within one week, and anywhere within the West and Central African sub-regions within two weeks, barring any unforeseen logistics and regulatory problems, hence empowering our farmers and patrons to meet any demand opportunities promptly”
While identifying key challenges such as quality of labour and work culture affecting business in Nigeria, Anudu expressed the belief that the company is positioned to compete at the big stage in spite of these problems.
He said” Of course, playing the global game comes with its own challenges. A lot of our competitors in other jurisdictions receive rebates, as high as 15% of their Free On Board (FOB) price, for every litre of products exported from their territory. These same players have very favourable export financing incentives for their overseas buyers; power is readily available and competitively priced by world standard. I am yet to hear of incessant crippling fuel scarcity in them, qualified labour is abundant and with the right work culture. But this is not the case in Nigeria.However, we are not unmindful of these challenges but are determined to configure our company in a way to develop efficiencies that will reduce their negative impact on us and hope that we shall get the necessary institutional support to overcome them”
Responding, The Former Governor of Lagos state, Mr.Babatunde Fashola (SAN) said it was normal for business to experience challenges noting that what was important is the readiness to tackle them headlong.