Imo State is blessed with large tracts of arable land which makes agriculture an important sector of the economy with high potential for employment generation, food security and poverty reduction. Although the sector was largely dominated by subsistence farming, with improved seedlings, modern farming methods and better weather forecasting, agricultural yields have continued to grow.
Imo drudgery method of Agriculture has been unable to sustain food security therefore the state government has mapped out policies aimed at encouraging mechanized and more advanced agricultural method to sustain food security.
The sector is open to private participation and investment opportunities abound across the various value chains. Broad categorization of these includes:
● Mechanized crop production such as rice, maize, millet, cassava, sugar cane, tomato and the cash crops such as cocoa, palm kernel, rubber, among others.
● Food processing and preservation across the value chains of the sector
● Beef processing and packaging
● Fruit juice/canned fruits
● Beverages and confectionary
● Cash crop processing – cocoa, palm kernel, rubber, among others
● Exploitation of timber and wood processing activities
● Livestock cultivation – dairy and aquaculture (fisheries) development
● Horticulture development.
● Agricultural input supplies and machinery.
● Water resources development especially for irrigation and flood control infrastructure.
● Commodity trading and transportation.
● Development and fabrication of appropriate small scale mechanized technologies for on-farming processing and secondary processing of agricultural produce.
● Development of private irrigation facilities.
● Production of improved seeds and agro-chemicals.
● Production of veterinary drug, vaccine, chemical, feeds and feeds ingredients.
● Market Research.
Government has deliberately designed investment incentives to support private sector participation in the sector. While some of these incentives are in form of tax holiday, exemptions, and reliefs, there are many more that leverage on specific government policies, performance of the companies as well as relevant international investment treaties. Some of these are:
● Income tax relief for a period of three years and which can be extended for a period of one year and thereafter another one year or for one period of two years – Pioneer Status Incentives
● Zero Import Duty: Zero percent import duty tariffs (custom, excise and value added) for import of agricultural equipment and agro-processing equipment.
● Increased tariff with additional levy on any commodity that Nigeria produce (rice, starch, sugar, wheat, tomato etc.) to promote domestic production and local content.
● Exemption of interest from tax on loans granted to agricultural activities.
● Exemption from Value Added Tax (VAT).
● Access to Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme which is up to 75%.
● Avoidance of double taxation agreement which eliminates double taxation with respect on income and capital gains.
● Investment promotion and protection agreement provides reciprocal baseline protections for investments.
● Nigeria qualifies for the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN IMO
● Availability of arable land across the country including 3.14 million hectares of irrigatable land;
● Favourable weather conditions that support all-year-round agricultural activities;
● Known and mapped-out soil characteristics across the country to guide crop cultivation;
● Supportive government policy that is geared towards encouraging mechanized farming and agribusiness; and
● Huge demand gap between the supply of agricultural produce and the industrial activities.