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Oakwood Rye, the farm and the water reservoir

Farming development and growth at Nassarawa, in the heart of Nigeria

Oakwood Rye, the farm and the water reservoir

Oakwood Rye is located near the village of Salamu, in the Karshi Development Area, region of Nassarawa in Nigeria, at about 50 km and 45 minute drive from Abuja, the capital city of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Descriptive photo of the area

Vegetation in Nigeria is the most typical expression of its climate, and notably of its rainfall, which determines the succession of the various floristic regions. The Guinean area, where Oakwood Rye is located, may be considered a transitional zone between the savannah with more or less scattered trees and the rain forest, thick, intricate, rich in flower and tree species. Favoured by a yearly average rainfall ranging between 1100 mm and 2000 mm and a yearly average temperature ranging between 20°C and 34°C, the vegetation shows the typical features of the savannah: with grass first and then with trees, with the typical presence of baobabs, acacias, umbelliferae. The most common aspects is the open canopy with grasses, green during the rain season and dry during the dry season, allows sufficient light to reach the ground. It is in this vegetation context that Oakwood Rye is located, at a height ranging between 353 m and 383 m below sea level.

The idea of the dam and the construction of the Oakwood Rye complex arose from the steady and concrete need to have a suitable water supply, such that it would allow crops to be grown all year long, always achieving an excellent quality level, also tanks to the use of the most modern open field irrigation techniques.

In the design stage it was found that, in order to cope with the water supply requirements of such a large area, it would be necessary to have a tank capacity of about 70 million litres of water. This consideration lead to the decision to build a dam and the water reservoir. Contrary to the initial forecasts, the final capacity of the tank has now reached 300 million litres, instead of the 100 million of the initial forecasts.

Mission and philosophy of the Project

La missione di Oakwood RyeNigerian economy has developed greatly in 2014, especially tanks to the advances made by the country in the agricultural sector. These data were disclosed by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which also added that a 6.9% growth is expected in 2015. The expansion of this fast-growing sector has been especially speeded up by the programs, implemented by the Nigerian government starting from 2011, to boost local agricultural production and aiming to make the country self-sufficient as far food is concerned by 2015.

To date the agricultural production is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the domestic market, with the subsequent need, for Nigeria, to import even the most common food products. The wish to overcome the limits of this subsistence economy has forced the Nigerian Government to design and implement a wide range development plan which includes, among other initiatives:

  • The creation of staple crop processing zone with related tax incentives for investors;
  • Custom-duties exemption for the import of agricultural and food-processing machinery.

There is a considerable number of profitable opportunities, therefore, for companies to invest in loco, through the creation of farms devoted to the cultivation and processing of products, intended both for the domestic market and for export.

This is the economic background in which Oakwood Rye established its conceptual and practical foundations.

Mission and Philosophy of Oakwood Rye

La diga di Oakwood RyeIn true harmony with Nature, Oakwood Rye intends to:

  • Support and supply the local market with excellent quality agricultural products;
  • Develop efficient and operational distribution services, which allow Nigeria to export its products well beyond its National borders.

The goal is that Oakwood Rye should become the first producer and distributor of upscale agricultural products able to meet the food requirements of all the markets that form the Nigerian economy: local market, regional market and the wider export market.

Such an important goal will be achieved thanks to:

  • The implementation of the most advanced technological practices available on the market;
  • The adoption of agricultural policies which safeguard the natural environment;
  • The employment of agricultural practices in compliance with International regulations for the handling of goods.

These important intentions, considered in the wider context of national economic development and growth, actually conceal more meaningful objectives.

The design of the agricultural and production complex of Oakwood Rye is mainly linked to the creation of new jobs and employment for the local population, both female and male, which will be employed full-time already starting from the initial execution stages the project.

Also, thanks to the close contact with Italian professionals who work in agriculture and food production, it will be possible to import and "implement", in the Nigerian territory, the most advanced technical farming skills and technological instruments coming from Italy, with excellent results in the economic growth and development of the African agricultural sector, still underdeveloped in the technical, professional and practical level.

The working Team

Il team di Oakwood Rye

The Oakwood Rye Team includes professionals and famous personalities from the world of Nigerian, Italian and Kenyan entrepreneurship and economy: notably the President, Barrister AU Mustapha, Nigerian; the Managing Director Fabrizio Cardillo and the Project Consultant/General Manager Mungai Thiru, Kenyan.

The team also includes other important personalities such as Nigerian entrepreneur Zakary Toyin; Kenyan Agronomist Wilson Mung’oo and the Technical Manager Jonathan Ise, Nigerian.

To find out about the stages that led to the creation of Oakwood Rye, read the article "The Project Stages".


The construction project of the dam saw the participation of the whole of the village of Salamu: young people and adults worked together and all of them grew professionally through daily exchange and mutual cooperation.

The works were completed with the construction of the dam and the water reservoir, which today can boast over 300 million litres of precious water.

The reservoir is now covered by a beautiful lake which perfectly expresses the underlying philosophy of the whole project. "In True Harmony with nature".

Photo gallery

Oakwood Rye, the farm layout The Dam construction The Dam construction Team: Barrister AU Mustapha, Fabrizio Cardillo, Mungai Thiru The very first Cut The very first Cut The very first Cut Dam taking shape Dam taking shape Dam taking shape The foundation The foundation The foundation Backfilling of the Foundation Backfilling of the Foundation Family Matters Family Matters Fabrizio Cardillo Family Matters The Outlet Pipe The Outlet Pipe The Racing Floods Come calling The Racing Floods Come calling Preparing the Dam Impound Area The Drain & Spillway The Drain & Spillway The Drain & Spillway The Embankment Grows The Embankment Grows The Embankment Grows Construction of the Embakment Construction of the Embakment Closing the Dam Closing the Dam Clearing the Dam Impound Area Fitting and Connecting the Valves The lake begins to form The lake begins to form The lake begins to form Road Maintenance Land Preparation Land Preparation Land Preparation Planting the Maize Planting the Maize Planting the Maize The Maize Plantation The Maize Matures The Maize Matures The Maize Matures Power, Water & Fuel Power, Water & Fuel Farm Buildings & Structures Farm Buildings & Structures Farm Buildings & Structures Protecting the Slopes Protecting the Slopes Protecting the Slopes Protecting the Slopes The final Cut & Fill The final Cut & Fill The Spillway The Spillway The Spillway Finally Calling it a Day The Spillway

Oakwood Rye, the farm and the water reservoir

Mission & Vision The faces of Oakwood Rye The Farm Layout Drip Irrigation