Plateau State has bought back its earlier privatized commercial farm, with the hope of occupying 40% of Nigeria’s market share.
The State’s Brewery Agro Research Company (BARC) Farms in Zallaki Village of Bassa Local Government was one of Nigeria’s largest barley producing farms until it was privatized in mid-1900s. It supplied raw materials to the State’s Jos International Breweries and others in the country.
It also produced vegetables, fruits, fish and assorted diary products among others in commercial quantity.
Since it was sold however, the company stopped producing, but was never reacquired.
The present State Governor, Simon Lalong in 2015 when he was elected vowed to buy back the company and resume production.
So far, the State has paid N1bn (USD2.6m), officials say, representing 70 percent of the total company shares, hoping to pay for the remaining shares later in the year.
“The reacquisition of BARC Farms is a very bold step to return the pride of Plateau State and create jobs by reviving commercial agriculture which the farm was reputed for,” Governor Simon Lalong said.
To begin the reactivation of the farm, Governor Lalong on Saturday launched the allocation of one thousand hectares of the farm to the State’s All Farmers Association, interested civil servants, pensioners, political office holders and members of the host community under a “temporary arrangement”.
Commissioner for Commerce and Industry Mr. Abe Mark Aku and the General Manager, Plateau Investments and Properties Company Mr. Chrys Yilzak adviced citizens to “support the Governor by embracing farming so as to create other sources of income particularly at this time when COVID-19 has greatly impacted the State’s resources.”
Given recent security breaches near the farm and the bad road network in its host community, Government, according to the State Commissioner for Agriculture Dr. Hosea Finangwai is “Taking steps to address public fears and reassure farmers of their safety and investment.”