• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Experts see asset injection model, vertical integration, corporate governance as key to agric capital

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Diversifying the Nigerian economy away from oil would require paying more attention to agriculture. This was the agreement of stakeholders at the PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PwC) and UK Trade and Investment forum tagged ‘Agribusiness strategy,’ held weekend in Lagos.

Richard Ferguson, an advisor to PwC, said asset injection model, vertical integration and fantastic corporate governance would be key in achieving this diversification of the Nigerian economy, saying “one of the methods I have used most recently is what I would call the asset injection model, whereby the country can take asset and inject them into listed vehicles to attract investors.

“The China model is a good example. Development of capital is taking assets owned by the state or private sector, and injecting them into enterprises were you get liquidity. Nigeria can do the same in agriculture, and use it as one kind of a model.

“There is also vertical integration as brand and processors vertical integrate backup, that is a model you will see in Brazil and the former Soviet Union. It can be done here in Nigeria. In other words, it is a kind of owing primary production and raising capital. Obviously, that is a very profitable business in this country. You can make rice for $300 per ton and sell for 14,000 per ton in the country. Another key thing is fantastic corporate governance.”

Also speaking at the forum, Rasheed Rahji, parther, PwC, said what was actually happening in the global space had necessitated to have the agribusiness forum. “If you look at the fact that the Nigerian economy actually depends on oil and gas, and hitherto we have been relying on oil and gas, and with the downward slide in the price of crude oil in the international market, effort has been geared towards developing the agriculture sector which is supposed to be the mainstay of the economy.

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“The sector employs about 70 percent of the population of about 170 million people. Since it does that, there is need for us to focus on these areas and produce more, engage the people there and employ more people to be food sustainable. The reliance on oil will be a thing of the past.

“We are going to address the challenges. Over time, we have not been paying so much attention to agriculture, and we need to do that now.  Secondly, source of finances to ensure that people that actually want to go into agribusiness have enough funds to do that, people who want to know more about agriculture get to do that and what kind of technology that is in place to aid large-scale production,” Rahji said.

JOSEPHINE OKOJIE