As efforts to include agriculture produce on commodity exchange market heightens, stakeholders have harped on the need to educate and empower farmers on improved quality production.
Stakeholders at the2-day International Conference on the Nigerian Commodities Market (ICNCM 2020) themed; Commodities Trading Ecosystem: “Key to diversifying Nigeria’s economy” on Tuesday noted that fiscal policies must be accompanied by products with high quality and standard for it to be tradable as a commodity adding that there is need to incentivize the trading of commodities through the exchange as this will impact positively on the commodity ecosystem.
Akeem Oyewale, CEO, Stanbic IBTC Nominees Limited said that the importance of promoting functional literacy and educative programs for farmers cannot be overemphasized at this time adding ensuring high quality products remains key to building a sustainable market for Agricultural produce.
He said “For us to take advantage of the level of development that exist in other countries and develop our commodity market, we must identify and lay emphasis on quality assurance among farmers”.
“We must empower and support our local farmers with researches, to step up on value addition to local produce”.
Oyewale speaking further stressed on the need for government to decisively address the challenges across the entire gamut of the agriculture value chain in terms of access to finance by farmers, aggregation of smallholder farmers, storage, warehousing and transportation, establishment of efficient irrigation mechanisms to ensure year-round farming.
Uchenna Uwaleke, Professor of finance and Capital market said that developing exchange market through agriculture will help improve the volume of output, as welk as increase the income of farmers over time.
He however stressed on the need for effective collaboration among the Central Bank of Nigeria, NIRSAL, and the bank of agriculture as key players in boosting the capacity of small holder farmers and increase their production.
He also noted that developing the commodity ecosystem will aid the government’s economy diversification drive and move from the economy from total reliance on oil. “This is also a pathway to industrialization, going through the value chain, these products will first be processed before being exported, thereby providing jobs, and achieving self-sufficiency in food Production”.
“The government should invest more in infrastructure, power, access to finance, transport, for easy movement of farm produce”.
“Organizing this small farmers into corporative so that they can produce in large quantities, if the volumes are not right , then the commodities exchange cannot work because it requires a large volumes to meet the demand and get right pricing for commodities”.
“Also we need to fast track the recapitalization of the bank of agriculture to ensure that funds are available to farmers”, he said.
Mary Uduk, Acting Director General of the SEC, In her remarks said that one of the key initiatives of the 10 year Capital Market Master Plan is the development of a thriving commodities trading ecosystem as part of the capital market’s contribution to the national economy.
According to her, while it is clear that Nigeria is well endowed with agricultural, metals and energy commodities, the nation’s potentials in these areas are unrealized.
She said, “The good news however, is that the capital market can be used as an avenue to unlock these potentials and diversify the nation’s economy, while providing jobs, creating values and contributing to governments’ revenue.
“We believe that if we can develop and institutionalize a vibrant commodities trading ecosystem in Nigeria, we can substantially address problems such as lack of storage, poor pricing, non-standardization, as well as low foreign exchange earnings affecting our agriculture and other commodities sub-sectors”.
Cynthia Egboboh, Abuja.