Nigeria’s reliance on crude oil is once again at the front burner of national discourse.

The country has depended solely on this natural resource for export and foreign exchange earnings for too long. The economy has recently witnessed a significant drop in the commodity’s price. Crude oil sales account for around 70 percent of government revenue and almost 80 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

Over the years, Nigeria has failed to achieve substantial earnings in foreign exchange from other sources, which has impeded her growth and development.

What was once a main source of revenue to Nigeria and a boost to her foreign exchange earnings – has now become its main source of instability. The domination of oil as Nigeria’s economic mainstay has relegated other sources of revenue to the background, and having not given enough attention to alternative sources of income; Nigeria is obviously unprepared to deal with the current economic situation.

With the falling prices of crude in the international market and the attendant effect it is having on public finances, inflation, the Naira and general economic activity, the need to diversify the economy has never been more urgent. No doubt, countless initiatives have been made to reverse this trend, but great strides are still yet to be made. So, what is wrong?

Experts across the country have agreed that what seem to be lacking is commitment; commitment and the attendant investments and sacrifice needed to see us move away from oil to other revenue lifelines. This commitment is what we have demonstrated at Kaboji Farms.

Kaboji is a town located 18 kilometers southwest of Kontagora, Niger State, and is home to one of FMN farms taking on the oil hegemony headlong. Kaboji Farms was not just conceived to support our agro-processing industries; it was developed to aid the Nigerian economy.

Fifteen years ago, long before the economic impasse which Nigeria currently faces was visible, we decided to look inwards so as to develop channels of locally sourced raw materials; that necessitated the acquisition of a 10, 000 hectare land at Kaboji. This move marked the beginning of our agro-allied operations.

Kaboji farm is one of the largest commercial farms in Nigeria, with maize, cassava, sorghum, and soy as its mainstay. On a yearly basis, it produces 32,000 metric tonnes of cassava, and 8,000 metric tonnes of maize.

Initially established as a joint venture between Northern Nigeria Flour Mills (NNFM) and FMN, Kaboji farms was to provide maize for the NNFM maize mill in Kano before its total acquisition by the FMN Group. Today, Kaboji Farms Limited has increased in scale and scope, with asset investments exceeding N1 billion.

Kaboji Farms is now a 10,000 hectares powerhouse, but over the next 5 years, there are plans to increase the cultivated area by a further 2,000 hectares. This will bring about a projected additional output of 7000 metric tonnes. By using the latest farming techniques and a highly mechanized approach, we will continue to achieve yields that are becoming the reference standard for the individual crops.

Much more than just farm produce, Kaboji Farm has created extensive value within the community. It provides massive direct economic stimulation and employment, thereby helping to alleviate poverty in the area. FMN has built six blocks of classrooms and a police station at Kaboji.

We believe that if we sustain the agricultural growth initiatives that have been embarked on at Kaboji, we will contribute to Nigeria’s food security and self-sufficiency; and also help the country realize its goal of becoming the economic giant in Africa

In the interim, oil may have a tight grip on our economy, but it will not be long before that ceases to be the case. The potential and promise of Kaboji Farms, as well as other initiatives, will see to it that this country is weaned off oil.