SEC to promote agric, commodities trading

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is promoting the trading of agricultural produce and solid minerals on the capital market as part of efforts to bolster the Federal Government’s actions in diversifying the  economy.

Its Acting Director-General, Mary Etuk, at a briefing in Abuja, on the forthcoming International conference on Nigeria’s commodities market, said agriculture remains an important part of that plan, holding the potential of delivering on the country’s food security needs, providing jobs and increasing our foreign exchange earnings.

“Despite this potential of the sector to deliver on these important metrics, credit to the sector has remained less than five per cent of bank lending for the past 10 years severely hampering its development. The capital market has the capacity to unlock better access to credit and finance for the sector through innovative financing structures and products.

“This is also true for Nigeria’s abundant minerals, especially the solid ones. Many of these minerals are dug up on a subsistence basis and sold in markets around the world in disorderly fashion.

“It is high time we created a market where they would be traded in an orderly manner, to the benefit of the economy.

“A structured market for commodities will provide a fairer playing field for local market participants, while providing the required infrastructure for the international market to be exposed to Nigerian commodities. It will also provide price discovery to market participants – producers and consumers alike – leading to efficiency and better decision making,” she said.

According to her, the three commodities exchanges in Nigeria backed by robust public participation from key stakeholders, notably financiers, donors, public stakeholders and government officials, and international commodity exchanges as well as the larger retail investment community could unlock more capital in the short-to-medium term.

“These important points and benefits have dictated the Commission’s decision to host the International Conference on the Nigerian Commodities Market (ICNCM 2020), with the theme ‘Commodities trading ecosystem: Key to diversifying the Nigerian economy,’”.

Chairperson, Marketwide Technical Committee on Community Trading Ecosystem, Daisy Ekine, said the commodities to be introduced by the committee spread across agriculture, metal, crude oil, and solid mineral.

“The committee is an off-shoot of the capital market master plan on community ecosystem review and we will begin with agriculture produce as the lowest hanging fruit.

“ICNCM 2020 will gather relevant stakeholders in the commodities ecosystem to consider the most pertinent issues in growing the ecosystem in Nigeria, with the end goal of creating an enabling environment for the deployment of innovative solutions that improve processes, products, productivity,” he said

Source: https://thenationonlineng.net/sec-to-promote-agric-commodities-trading/

AGRICULTUREFarmers Group Compliments FG Agro Policy, Launches New Agro App

As the Federal Government upscales the move to ensure food sufficiency and increased profitability for farmers through revolutionisation of agriculture, a key stakeholder, Farmers Without Boarders, originally known as Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) has launched one of Nigeria’s leading agriculture apps to enable investors in the sector access business opportunities available on the platform from any part of the world.

The idea, according to Retson Tedheke, national coordinator of NFGCS, is driven by a visionary energy with the conviction to enhance the lives of farmer by utilizing science and technology to connect farmers across the world and provide them the opportunity to invest without breaking a sweat.

He added that the initiative will optimise digitalisation and expand business opportunities in the agricultural sector.

“You can be an active player in the agro sector without being practically involved”, said Retson who explained to journalists that the application will enable farmers to optimize their resources and profits by utilizing the features and information the app provides.

Currently hundreds of Nigerians, particularly youths have subscribed to the agro-mobile application called, `Ga’atevest,’ to explore the potential in agriculture sector.

The National Coordinator of the Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS), Mr Tedheke Retson, made this known while conducting journalists round its over 3000 hectares farm centre in Ga’ate, Nasarawa State on Wednesday.

Retson said the application which was recently launched is targeted at three million subscribers within four months and expressed optimism to beat the figure few weeks from here.

While he assured Nigerians of the benefits of the platform, Retson said the idea was part of NFGCS’s effort to make farming attractive to the teeming unemployed youth in Nigeria who are already being affected by the ever increasing population.

He said, “the biggest challenge today is that agriculture in Nigeria is struggling because leadership and structures around financing do not understand the importance of agriculture.

“How can Nigeria have an average youth population that is 19 years old, a full population of about 200million, a youth population in excess of about 70 million, average age of 19 and we are hungry.

“We are not just hungry, we are broke and what the over 70 million youths are doing is how to trek through the desert to Europe to chase greener pastures when we have land, people and untapped opportunities.

“Ga’atevest is designed to help Nigerians key into a vision that is larger than us.

“Farming no doubt is difficult because across every length and breathe of this country, the basic things are not done and what is basic, it is infrastructure, enabling environment for farmers to thrive,” he said.

The coordinator explained that with the mobile platform, investors could own plots of land, cattle, chicken and other farm produce while having returns on them.

He further explained that investors could go into the various value chains in farming including farming, processing and marketing through farm crowdy without putting in so much effort.

He called for enabling environment to encourage agriculture, saying it was the mainstay of the economy.

He stressed that, “what the average Nigerian farmer needs as access road to convey their goods from farm to market in not a tar road, just simply use asphalt and they are okay. We need electricity.

“The solution to the problem of the Nigerian farmer is simple and Ga’atevest is directed towards solving a problem that exists with micro financing in Nigeria agricultural sector.

“The biggest challenge we have had is that we do not love this country enough. If we don’t love this country we cannot grow it.

“There were days when palm oil, garri and other farm produce were vital, today all of us are looking at crude oil.

“As at today the price of oil has plummeted from about 53 dollar per barrel to about 35 dollar per barrel,” he said.

Retson expressed optimism that with the opportunities in agriculture, Nigeria could be one of the leading economies in the world.

Source: https://leadership.ng/2020/03/12/farmers-group-compliments-fg-agro-policy-launches-new-agro-app/

Ortom charges Benue people to invest in Agric, ICT

Governor Samuel Ortom has urged the people of Benue State to explore investment opportunities in Agriculture as well as Information and Communication Technology, ICT to contribute their quota to the economic development of the state.

He made the call today at the Benue Peoples House Makurdi during a courtesy visit on him by a delegation from the Benue State Branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, led by its Controller, Abba Bulus Ibrahim.

The Governor stated that investment opportunities abound in fishery right from production and the entire agriculture value chain, stressing that cultivation of maize and other cash crops in commercial quantities could also serve as raw materials and provide employment opportunities.

He stated that his administration had recently constituted a committee to explore potential investment opportunities that could help develop the economy, pointing out that government would sensitize and encourage the people to venture into such areas that would improve their earnings.

The Governor commended the CBN for its interest in the development of non oil economy especially agriculture, saying his administration would collaborate with the apex bank to become one of the fish production hubs in the country.

The CBN branch Controller, Abba Bulus Ibrahim stated that the bank was intensifying collaboration with relevant stakeholders to boost production, thereby reducing import bills and creating jobs along the value chain of ten major agricultural commodities including fishery.

He stated that Nigeria with its large expanse of marine and inland water resources could become self-sufficient in fish production if necessary steps were taken to properly develop and increase investment in the subsector.

Mr. Ibrahim lamented that Nigeria loses about $1.2 billion annually to importation of fish which also slows economic growth and causes loss of employment.

He said fish farmers could access funding in form of loans from the CBN through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme with support from the Benue State Government.

Source: https://dailypost.ng/2020/03/10/ortom-charges-benue-people-to-invest-in-agric-ict/

Leveraging technology to boost food security

Agriculture is one of the main drivers of Nigeria’s economic growth. It accounts for about 23 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The potential of the sector to address the unemployment problem of the country is not lost on the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan. He said agriculture remains a viable means for employment generation in Nigeria.

According to him, substantial investment in the sector by the Federal Government would guarantee food security for the country.

Lawan spoke during the debate on a bill that sought to establish the Agricultural Development Fund at plenary.

“The agricultural sector remains unarguably the most viable means of ensuring that we create employment opportunities and that we create wealth for our people as well.

“If there is anything that needs to be done to enhance this sector, we should do so”, the Senate president said.

He noted that the establishment of the fund will make available some funds for the sector to do better and thrive, adding that same will boost the Nigerian economy and provide the much needed food security in the country.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said the current contribution of the agricultural sector to the GDP stands at between 15 and 20 per cent with the potential for improvement.

Adamu lamented that the utilisation of arable land in the country is only 40 per cent, while agriculture is still largely subsistence with minimal value addition.

“It will be difficult to achieve agricultural productivity and value addition required for industrial development without sustainable funding.

“The fact that the current budgetary system will continue to be improved but it will be insufficient to generate the necessary transformation in the agricultural sector.

“One of the first steps that need to be taken to ensure adequate funding for the agricultural sector is the enactment of this bill in order to pave way for the creation of a mega-agency to manage viable and sustainable sources of agricultural financing.”

The agric sector was the major driver of the economy of the First Republic. That was when the groundnut pyramid of Kano, palm oil from the east and cocoa from the west held sway for a competitive regional government of the federation.

Things however changed when the black gold, oil, was discovered. The agric sector was relegated while the nation regaled in its new found gold.

This fact accounts for the fact that despite its vast potential, the sector remained bedeviled by several problems including small and fractionalised land ownership, inadequate inputs, poor yield, low literacy among farmers, lack of training, poor seed variety, inadequate storage capacity, and poor transportation infrastructure.

Others are rural-urban migration, poor access to finance, limited knowledge or use of emerging technology, high cost of equipment, access to market, poor sale and distribution network, and weak value chain. Nigeria reportedly loses 32 per cent of crops produced annually due to broken value chain.

The prevailing practice in most areas across the country is that of one person taking on multiple roles in agriculture. For instance, a farmer produces the seeds, grows the seed, harvests the crops, processes and sometimes transports the harvested crops to the market. At times, he gets the final consumer.

Combining the entire chain not only reduces efficiency, it accounts for wastages. If there is a clear understanding of division of labour or the application of value chain mechanism, the farmer would gain more from his labour. The creation of specialised producers, transporters, processors, aggregators and marketers improves productivity, increases profitability as well as boosts wealth creation for all concerned stakeholders.

Source: https://thenationonlineng.net/leveraging-technology-to-boost-food-security/

Nanono: Agric Mechanisation Way Forward for Nigeria

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono has emphasised that agricultural mechanisation is the only way forward if the government must develop the sector and create the needed jobs for the teeming youths.

He said as crucial as the agro-processing zones are to development, earlier attempts by previous administrations to ensure agro-processing commenced in the country never came to fruition for over a decade.

Speaking at the opening of the Special Agro- Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) inception workshop recently organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB), he noted that issues bordering on land, water resources, relevant manpower and the level of mechanisation must be addresses before successes of the zones could be guaranteed, adding that, “You may have clusters but nothing to process.”

Nanono, also said issues relating to research on good seedlings, and extension workers to monitor progress were crucial to realising the potential of the proposed agro-processing zones.

He stressed that mechanisation remained the cardinal principle to move the country forward in agriculture.
The minister said SAPZs remained a major strategy in the economic diversification programme of the current administration and repositioning for sustainable economic growth and development.

He said that the plan was to develop the SAPZs within a period of three years across the country in areas where core economic value can be unleashed for the benefit of the rural population, adding that agricultural mechanisation would be the main vehicle for strategically implementing the SAPZ programme on an intense scale.

Essentially, he said SAPZs are to be built around brownfields – areas with developed and existing infrastructure such as rails, roads, power and irrigation systems, is being developed with the support and collaboration of the AfDB and financiers like International Finance Corporation (IFC) and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

The core implementing agencies including the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry, and Bank of Agriculture among others classified into four cluster groups to appraise critical commodities in the value chain and proffer the way forward.

Nanono, said based on discussions with the Bank, the federal government as part of the on-going reforms in the agriculture sector has requested the support of the AfDB in the development of six SAPZs across the country during the next three years.

He said the Initiative focuses on priority commodities including those that top the list of food imports into Nigeria; have the potential to provide quality employment to a large number of people especially youths; reduce urban and rural poverty and lift 100 million people out of poverty; have the most potential for boosting export revenue through agro-processing value addition and will revive past, valuable, agro-industrial assets among others.

source: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2020/02/26/nanono-agric-mechanisation-way-forward-for-nigeria/

Kano Farmers Hail Anchor Borrowers Programme, Seek Increased Funding for Agriculture

Farmers in Kano State have hailed the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) ongoing Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) but tasked government to increase funding for the agriculture sector.

They said this is to ensure increased productivity and galvanise the drive to make Nigeria food sufficient by 2030, in line with the 2030 zero-hunger agenda.

The chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Farouk Rabiu, and other farmers spoke to PREMIUM TIMES in Kano.

In 2015, the Nigeria government introduced the ABP through which loans and farm inputs are given to small and medium scale farmers in order to boost agricultural output.

Mr Rabiu said ABP has helped more farmers to go into agriculture as a business, and contribute to meeting up with the consumption need of the Nigerian populace.

He said the programme has also helped farmers to be more competitive, as their productivity is expected to increase greatly.

He said AFAN was enjoying the support of the federal government through the ABP.

He called on the government to ignore calls for stopping the programming, saying those making the calls are not aware of the progress being made by the farmers.

Many of the farmers who benefitted from the ABP across Nigeria have defaulted in the payment of their loans.

The AFAN boss, however, said it is not true that farmers had refused to pay back the loans. He said the ABP has helped farmers to increase farm yields, especially in rice farming “where we now produce 95 per cent of rice eaten in the country and are creating more jobs in the country through its value chain.”

Mr Rabiu said instead of spending one trillion naira annually on the importation of wheat from Russia and America, the government should grant the request of farmers to fund the Wheat Anchor Borrowers Programme.

He said with N20 billion, the programme would cultivate 100,000 hectares of land for wheat production, and create one million direct and indirect jobs in Nigeria.

“We urge the government to fund the wheat farmers which is part of the commodity targeted by the programme.

“Nigerians are impatient with farmers, expecting immediate success, which is not possible. It takes a process to achieve the expected success,” he said.

Mr Rabiu said the support of the programme has enabled farmers to produce more. “This has helped us to crash the price of some food commodities in Nigeria,” he said.

Also speaking, the chairman of Apex Smallholder Farmers, Musa Kura, called on the government to increase its funding for the sector.

“if inputs can get to farmers on time, farmers will be able to plan ahead of the planting season and also increase productivity all year round,” he said

However, another farmer, Saadu Ali, said the issue of input has been a major challenge for him as a farmer. He said the government is yet to meet the need of farmers in that respect, as most times inputs arrive late, which has made him lose so much over the years.

“Government should be proactive in its drive by ensuring that farmers get the best of inputs for planting at the right time,” he said.

Reference: https://allafrica.com/stories/202002250033.html

NIRSAL facilitates N102b to stimulate agric, creates 400,000 jobs

The Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has confirmed that it has facilitated over N102 billion as loans from commercial banks since its inception across the various agricultural value chains in the country.

NIRSAL Plc, a wholly-owned corporation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is a $500 million non-bank financial institution specifically designed to redefine, measure, re-price and share agribusiness-related credit risk.

By its mandate, NIRSAL is not a lending institution but was created to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into fixed agricultural value chains. This, it does, through fixing of agricultural value chains, building long-term capacity and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending leveraging its five strategic pillars namely: Risk Sharing, Innovative Insurance Technical Assistance, Incentive Mechanism, and Rating.

Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, Aliyu Abdulhameed, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NIRSAL, said the company serves as a catalyst that enables providers of finance and investment, lend and invest in agribusinesses leveraging on its credit risk guarantees and risk management products, tools, techniques, methodologies and strategic partnerships.

He said NIRSAL had within a short period of time achieved, among others, the Development of Area Yield Index Insurance for the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

Abdulhameed said in a bid to further de-risk Nigeria’s agriculture industry for investors and financiers, NIRSAL as the Agricultural Finance Risk Management Corporation of the CBN had dimensioned the entire agricultural value -hain into four segments: The Pre-upstream, Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream.

He disclosed that NIRSAL had developed and deployed appropriate de-risking strategies that speak to the entire risk universe as they affect both the agricultural and agriculture finance value chains.

Since its establishment in 2016, he said NIRSAL had paid out N4.6 billion as claims to providers of finance (Deposit Money Banks) on Credit Risk Guarantees that crystallised. An additional N1.2 billion, he said, had been paid to prudent borrowers as interest drawbacks who have found their cost of funds and businesses boosted as a result.

NIRSAL’s goal, according to Abdulhameed, is to expand insurance uptake by primary producers from 0.5 million to 3.8 million by 2026 and continually develop insurance products that will give financial institutions and Agricultural Value Chain players the comfort they need to lend to the agricultural sector while building the capacities of underwriters.

NIRSAL is currently leading a consortium of agricultural insurance underwriters to strategically transition their product focus from indemnity-based insurance to Area Yield Index, Revenue Index, Hybrid Index and finally to the NIRSAL Comprehensive Index Insurance product. This suite of innovative products does not only provide compensation to farmers based on the cost incurred but also covers projected earnings.

Source: https://guardian.ng/news/nirsal-facilitates-n102b-to-stimulate-agric-creates-400000-jobs/

Driving Palm Oil production

The drive to achieve backward integration in the agricultural sector, led the country to introduce the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) in 2015. The initiative was to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in processing and small holder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.

This, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, was a renewed focus by the central bank to support improved growth in the agriculture and manufacturing sector in Nigeria.

According to him, the initiative was clearly in line with the federal government’s determination to diversify the revenue base of the economy away from its over reliance on crude oil.

Among the focus agricultural produce under the ABP was oil palm. In the 50s, Nigeria was a world leader in oil palm cultivation. Then, the country was controlling about 43 per cent of global oil palm market, and the produce then accounted for about 15 per cent of the country’s total exports. Today, the nation has shifted from a global player to an import dependent nation, even as it strives to meet its local demand, a situation experts say was worrisome.

Recognising the negative impact of neglecting a critical sub-sector within the agricultural value chain, Emefiele, last year said despite the availability of over three million hectares of farmland for palm oil cultivation, production remains low at two tonnes per hectare, relative to a global benchmark of 25 tonnes per hectare.

He also said today, Nigeria is a distant fifth among leading producers of palm oil and barely produces up to three per cent of the global supply of palm oil, with an estimated production of 800,000 metric tonnes of palm oil, while countries like Malaysia and Indonesia produce 25 million and 41 million tonnes of palm oil respectively.

Emefiele, had put the country’s total domestic palm oil demand and consumption at 2.5 million while local production capacity is only 1.25 million metric tonnes.
According to him, the strategic potential of the agricultural sector and its value chain in an economy, if well harnessed, could boost rural employment generation, ensuring food security and foreign exchange conservation through reduced imports.

The apex bank governor noted that of particular interest to all the stakeholders should be how to improve the country’s oil palm industry, adding that oil palm is an important tree crop with immense economic importance as its products are important source of affordable edible and non-edible oils for domestic and industrial uses.
However, despite its potentials, Emefiele expressed concerns about the challenges facing the Nigerian palm oil industry.

He said the palm oil industry’s further growth and contribution to the national economy were being threatened by inadequate local production and continued reliance on imports.
Giving some backgrounds on the recent developments in the oil palm sector in Nigeria, he explained that the journey to revive the oil palm sector began with the discovery that over $500 million of the country’s scarce foreign exchange was being expended on the importation of palm oil to meet identified the demand gap of 1.25 million metric tonnes.

Source: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2020/02/20/driving-palm-oil-production/

USAID to lend Nigerian agribusiness owners $15.7m

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed the sum of $15.7 million of investment into the country’s agribusiness ecosystem in its Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity.

The investment is expected to create a free bottle-neck in accessing funds by owners of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the agriculture sector and create an enabling platform for high earners in the sector.

According to Adam Saffer, chief of party and managing director, the programme is centred on agribusiness owners producing commodities such as rice, cowpea, soybean, maize and those in aquaculture; he made this known at Ebonyi State, recently.

Also, states where these commodities are predominantly produced such as Ebonyi, Benue, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Cross River and Delta states are where the programme will be held for the next five years.

“In line with the U.S. and Nigerian governments’ commitment to growing the non-oil based economy, this activity is pursuing a unique, robust business-centred strategy to increase the depth, breadth, dynamism and competitiveness of Nigeria’s agribusiness sector.

“The activity is designed to create an improved environment by working toward four interrelated objectives: mitigate obstructive policies to make it easier to do business in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, broaden access to finance and promote investment opportunities in agriculture, and strengthen the capacity of agribusiness to expand and scale up operations,’ he said.

Kenneth Ugbala, secretary to Ebonyi State Government who represented the governor expressed confidence that USAID’s initiative which is in line with state’s agriculture policy which will enable the indigenes in the state to go into agriculture.

“Even for us in the government sector, it is a near capital offence to not have a farm and that is why the Governor directed that even the civil servants should go to the farm and they call major address because politics is gradually taking our minds from our mainstay.

Agribusiness owners in the country are currently facing hard times in the area of securing local credit facilities, which has limited their growth. Experts say agribusiness would need more funding to be able to produce optimally and take advantage of the country’s huge market.

Reference: https://www.businessamlive.com/usaid-to-lend-nigerian-agribusiness-owners-15-7m/

Nigeria has potential to feed Africa’s 1.2bn people – Ecobank

Ecobank says Nigeria has the capacity to feed Africa’s estimated 1.2 billion people if it harnesses the gains of the agricultural value chain.

According to the bank, success in Nigeria’s agricultural sector means the reduction in the demand for foreign exchange to import food items into the country and the development of the agribusiness value-chain with a resultant effect in the creation of a new breed of entrepreneurs as well as jobs for the teeming population.

Ade Ayeyemi, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), stated this on Thursday at the Ecobank Agribusiness Summit in Lagos. The summit had its theme “Unlocking Productivity and Investment Opportunities Across Nigeria’s Agribusiness Value Chain”

According to Ayeyemi, Ecobank decided to create a platform of a Summit to enable thought-leaders who are passionate about agriculture and its importance to Nigeria’s economy to put heads together and find ways to maximize the significant potential gains of boosting agribusiness in Nigeria.

He said Ecobank works with various governments and businesses within its footprint to provide support in harnessing and mining value from the huge natural resources across the continent. “The success of this Summit and its objectives is therefore important to Ecobank, as we do know Africa remains fully committed to contributing to its economic development – a core objective of our founders”.

Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Nanono affirmed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to finding a lasting solution to issues bothering on food security affecting the country.

Nanono who was represented by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri also stressed on the need for viable synergy and collaboration between relevant stakeholders in the agricultural sector, so as to further promote its contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the country.

“The aim of this submit is indeed very apt as it would contribute on creating a sustainable economy through the development of rural agricultural enterprises. It is gladdening that this forum has brought together small-holders, input dealers, agro-processors, development finance agencies, policy makers and the captains of industries under one roof to discuss the problems and challenges facing the sector, with the view to finding solutions and way forward.

“This summit also marks another milestone attraction in the journey of economic diversification in line with the vision of the economic recovery growth plan of the current administration of his Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, to boost agricultural production prosperity, promote innovative technologies and investment in the agricultural sector, in order to achieve poverty reduction and job creation.

“Nigeria’s potentials and prospects, makes the agricultural sector a pilot for economic stabilization, diversification and growth in the country. Indeed, the sector is a major contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), contributing about 27 percent to the GDP and the biggest in job creation in the non-oil sector.

“As you are aware, the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari is committed to finding a lasting solution to addressing the issues of food security in the country, as well as encourage local farmers to produce more and better-quality food for all. The aim was to restore the glory of the country’s agricultural sector, which before the oil-boom was we all know, was the main driver of Nigeria’s economy.

“Let me also reiterate, that under the current dispensation, the agriculture sector has engineered more farmers for providing the required raw materials for the development of the agro-allied industry in the country.

“With the noticeable growth in production in agriculture, agricultural and food sector, The has been on stimulating agricultural export, to increase our foreign exchange earnings. In doing this, we are giving attention to meeting the requirements of not only the locals, but also international market.

“At present, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is promoting and supporting the development of special agro-industrial processing funds, in collaboration with the African Development Bank (ADB) for value addition, import substitution, job creation and international market. Commitment and support would continue to be given to the areas of promoting foreign and local enterprise to advance level of credit and investment in agriculture as a veritable step to diversify the economy.

“Within the overall sets of policy principles, the federal government is concentrating on providing an enabling environment and enabling playgrounds for stakeholders at all levels, to enhance investment and capital flow into the sector,” he said.

The maiden Ecobank Agribusiness summit in partnership with Vanguard Newspapers had exhibitors and hundreds of participants from within and outside the country in attendance.

Source: https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2020/02/13/nigeria-has-potential-to-feed-africas-1-2bn-people-ecobank/