Agriculture crucial to long-term economic growth and food security

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African Farming’s second edition of the Agribusiness Summit at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja from 27-28 August 2019, was aimed at creating a cohesive platform for trade and investment opportunities

The summit attracted top government officials, policymakers, importers, distributors, food companies, processors, agribusiness owners, major investors, farmer associations and youth networks.

Increasingly, rural economic growth plays a critical role in Nigeria’s successful job creation, economic diversity, improved security and sustainable economic growth. Thus focusing policy instruments and private sector investments will ensure that the commercialisation of agriculture includes technologies, financial services, inputs supply chains and market linkages that directly engage youth and rural poor farmers In line with the vision to harness the golden opportunities that agribusiness presents.

The keynote speaker was Devakumar V.G Edwin, Group Executive Director- Strategy, Capital Project and Portfolio Development, Dangote Industries Ltd who spoke on the topic “Overview on agriculture in Nigeria.” This address placed emphasis on the agribusiness climate, agricultural development as well as policy regulations and laws. According to him, agriculture employs 37 per cent of the population. He added that this is against the backdrop of the 23 per cent unemployment rate in the country. He called for an increase in private sector investments to drive the industry.

Prof. Ibrahim Umar Abubakar, Executive Director of the Institute of Agricultural Research Zaria made a presentation on Nigeria’s journey to becoming the largest producer of rice in Africa; and the importance of implementing better crop management through improving the marketability of crops as well as creating awareness about soil management.

A clear understanding about the National Agricultural Seeds Act was made by Dr Phillip Ojo, Director General of the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), through a focus on opportunities in the seed sector, innovations in certified seeds and the benefits of seed banks. This was followed by a panel discussion on how modern machinery, irrigation solutions and innovative technologies play a major role in increasing agricultural productivity.

The General Manager of Flour Mills Nigeria, Olusegun Falade gave an insightful presentation on innovative technologies and fintech solutions for handling post-harvest issues. He proposed the usage of tracking devices, improved harvesting implements, fruit packing crates, cold rooms and storage bags that are insect-proof to reduce the impact of food losses.

There was a presentation on livestock farming, a business analysis of the animal husbandry sector and also exploring the methods of maximizing poultry and livestock production outputs.

This was followed by a panel discussion on the innovative assessment of the agricultural markets and value chains prior to investment. The panellists discussed inclusive financing models and current customer preferences as drivers of value addition. The panel participants included Eric Nyikwagh, Country representative of YPARD Nigeria; Taiwo Oyaniran, Price Waterhouse Coopers; Ogbonnaya Edu, founder of Farm Awareness for Food Preservation Initiative; Prof. Job Nmadu, President Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economics (NAAE) and Benneth Ejindu of ANAMMCO. Eric advocated for a private sector-driven approach to extension delivery, the establishment of youth mentorship programs and re-training of subject matter specialists on innovative extension methods.

Driving Africa's agriculture

Agriculture is now a profitable business but requires patience, technical expertise and knowledge to understand market dynamics. The key to the economic development of Nigeria rests on the shoulders of the youth. However, they have limited access to credit and many other productive resources necessary for agribusiness investments. The youth are the succeeding farming generation and therefore represent the future of food secured Nigeria.

For more details, please read the full article on ypard

The Agroinvestment Summit is returning to London for its second year at the Tower Hotel from 2-3 December. For more details, please visit www.agroinvestmentsummit.com/2019-london-summit

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