The bank as the first financier had earlier financed the first phase of the project and offered N2billion long-term facility to enable Triton Aqua Africa Limited (TAAL) expand its aquaculture businesses- nursery/hatchery for the production of fingerlings and brood stock in Ikeja; and earthen ponds for catfish and tilapia in Asejire, Iwo and Gambari towns in Oyo.
Under the programme, Globus Resources is expected to plant about 350,000 seedlings of teak, Gmelina arborea and Cidrella trees yearly over a period nine years in a bid to reforest about nine thousand hectares of land in Gambari village in Oyo state which had been exploited by tree fellers for timbers among others.
Speaking at the event, Ifie Sekibo, Managing Director/CEO of Heritage Bank commended the governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the Triton Group for the initiative between the state and Globus Resources to reforest the area again.
He remarked that if every governor could put a little of bit of backing into agriculture as a way of life, it would go a long way to better the lives of the people.
He added that, “we seemed to forget that our lives as Nigerians/Africans started with the land. If we don’t take care of the land, the land will take care of us, the land does not need us, and we need the land to take care of us. Afforestation is one of the ways to take care of the land and we need to talk about carbon credit because we need to find a way to make money.”
Sekibo said we consistently cut down trees to make boats, plywood and all kind of things for comfort and don’t think about replenishing them, remarking that they are actually exhaustive, they are not inelastic and there is need for deliberate steps to be taken to replenish them.
Meanwhile, Sekibo expressed satisfaction with the pace at which the project was going; as he assured the company’s team that Heritage Bank would continue to support the genuine cause by Triton Group to boost the agricultural base of the nation as long as the business relationship between the bank and Triton Aqua is mutually beneficial.
The bank boss thanked Triton Group for taking the initiative to replenish the trees, noting that although it will take a while for the trees to become usable, they will regenerate and as they nurture them to grow, in the next five to ten years, the whole place will be covered with trees.
Chairman/MD of Triton Group, Ashvin Samtani, said the group has been operating in Nigeria for about 40 years, remarking that they are Nigerians, not expatriates, adding that beyond the tree planting initiative, the group intends to employ about 5,000 people.
The chairman of the occasion, Akinwale Moradayo, Dep. Director of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Oyo State who stood in for the Commissioner, Oyewole Oyewumi also stressed the need to do something to protect the land, so that its inhabitants would not be consumed.
The Triton Group besides afforestation is also engaged in poultry and aquaculture among others.