By Johnson Eze
Gazewa Commodity Market & Exchange
Agriculture is one of the most strategic sectors in the economy of any nation. Aside its unique role of enhancing food security for the population, it is indispensable in the sustenance of industries as it produces cash crops that constitute raw materials for manufacturing activities. Almost everybody in Nigeria, Africa and in fact most developing countries of the world is exposed to agricultural activity as it is naturally a culture, occupation and vocation of many. Essentially, the sector is the most labour-intensive and generates highest number of employment for the people – accounting for over 34.66% of jobs in Nigeria for 2020 alone.
It is in recognition of this over-riding importance, that Nigerian government liberalized the sector as an area of business civil servants are permitted to engage in while still occupying office. In that sense, proceeds from agricultural business can go a long way in augmenting salaries and supporting national economy.
For Agro-enterprise to be profitable, impactful, and contribute meaningfully in the GDP and food security program of the nation deservedly, participants have to do it with innovation, intelligence and acumen needed to compete favourably in modern day’s business realities that often have global outlook for sustainability. An obvious example is the Gazewa Commodity Market and Exchange GCMX – a pristine agricultural investment initiative recently established in Gazewa suburb of Kano state that has been receiving accolades in the ways and manner it is reinventing and catalysing economic activities especially in agriculture and its entire value chain hitherto left for underdogs
In fact, Gazewa Commodity Market and Exchange is an economic wonder of the generation. A delegation of Kano Concerned Citizens Initiative led by Alhaji Bashir Tofa who visited the place described the facility as “a 250hectres business hub for farmers, Commodity traders, Manufacturers and Commodity Exchange”. It will also accommodate haulage service providers and all stakeholders in Agro and Export value chain. It is a wholly indigenous Nigerian company registered and operating from Gezawa, a suburb of Kano (about 24 kilometres from Kano city), hoping to actualize the National goal of self-reliance, food security, diversification and economic development in both short and long term, in tandem with the Buhari administration’s policy of promoting agriculture as an alternative source of revenue for the nation.
A report by an economic policy analyst described it as ranking international best practice in agricultural investment in recent history, stating that the investors and promoters reasoned globally and acted locally to impact Nigerian society. The promoters and investors’ expertise, foresight and knowledge of wealth creation as conceived in relation to it were done in the best interest of the agro-economy which holds a lot of potential for the nation. The Gazewa Commodity Market and Exchange has no similarity and remains innovative in design and operation.
Source close to the exchange said, “The Company was conceived of and packaged to provide a global market platform where maximum efficiencies provide answers to modern day business in our local agricultural commodities and value chains”. According to the promoters, “It was envisaged that the project would give employment to more than 2,800 people and another 3,000 indirect ones as a multiplier effects with full commencement of phase I of the exchange. About a hundred businesses abound in the exchange with the capacity for 500 trailers and 1000 car parking facilities, warehousing, and luxury shops/offices, trading floor, fire and fuel stations and independent water sources all in place. In fact it deserves its name as the largest commercial one-stop hub. One needs to have an on-the-spot inspection to fully appreciate this country-in-a-country facility. The facility was well paved with hard concrete lanes and carriers; one can easily forget his immediate environment once inside”.
Reminiscent of the era of the regional government when Northern Region Marketing Board was assisting farmers sell their agricultural produce at good prices and at the same time export some overseas for revenue generation, GCMX Ltd is a modern day business hub that provides limitless opportunities for millions of famers with much more services in the agriculture value chain . It is indeed an establishment that has come to touch lives not just in Kano state, northern Nigeria but across the country.
Consequently when some online media organization had published some negative article about it they attracted the resentment of many opinion leaders who described the publication as desperate effort to tarnish the image of a well-established organization assisting farmers out of their predicament. In fact, according to them, “it is an act that wrongfully paints legitimate action as illegal and unfairly tags descent effort as corruption just to play to the gallery and make a posture of a publication that reports investigative. But the whistle blower policy is still much in force. If the writer thinks he is sure of what he is writing what stops him from reporting directly to government so as to claim financial reward as whistle blowers?”
Interestingly, with the publication having stirred the hornets’ nest, civil society activist and media personalities have been taking turns to react on the issues raised in that publication as they are weighty and the organization involved is not a mean one but an essential service company in Agriculture value chain that is dear to the heart of the people. While many exonerated the promoters of the exchange from any wrongdoing insisting that Nigerian government clearly gave approval for civil servants to engage in agricultural businesses others focused on querying the sensibility of the media organization with such attacks on the Agricultural investment and sought to know what the investment has done wrong.
One Mr Adegbenro Olufemi, a civil right activist described the publication as lacking in content and advised those behind it to stay clear of Gazewa Commodity Market and Exchange as the investment has not breached any law neither has any of its promoters committed any infraction pointing out that the exchange has come to assist farmers to derive full benefits from their agricultural activities. The era when farmers suffer losses from commodity glut has gone. We must embrace the new thinking. The commodity market and exchange is a welcomed innovation which we must give kudos to the promoters and investors. “Let us give commendation to those that deserve it”. He added.
In a similar vein, the National Secretary of a CSO, Media Network Against Corruption, Comrade Michael Etim condemned those propagating negative publication against GCMX asking them to present substantive allegation against it or forever keep quiet. “Is it because Gazewa Commodity Market and Exchange GCMX is now a success story that they are raising eye brow? The success is because the promoters are competent and groomed it to this enviable status. Success has many parents, failure is an orphan. Let us learn to support great ideas in our society and people behind them”, Mr Etim stated.
With so much positive news coming from the GCMX, the projected expectations in terms of developmental, economic and employment benefits, there is no doubt that it is a good initiative cherished by all.