In order to maximise its potential, the Nigerian agriculture sector requires business investments in four major areas, according to Aliyu Abdulhameed, managing director/CEO, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
These four areas are finance capital, technology capital, equipment capital and human capital, Abdulhameed said.
Agriculture contributes 25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Current local and global trends such as $22 billion imports substitution and $5 trillion global food industry, among others, are expected to drive productivity and future investments in agriculture.
Speaking at Ecobank agribusiness summit in Lagos, Abdulhameed urged actors to take advantage of the inherent opportunities in the Nigerian agriculture sector and NIRSAL’s agriculture/agribusiness de-risking value offerings.
Mohammed Nanono, minister of agriculture and rural development, said Nigeria’s potential and prospects make the sector a pilot for economic stabilisation, diversification and growth in the country. The sector is a major contributor to the national GDP and the biggest in job creation in the non-oil sector.
Nanono, who was represented by Mustapha Baba Shehuri, minister of state for agriculture and rural development, said President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to finding a lasting solution to addressing the issues of food security in the country, as well as encouraging local farmers to produce more and better quality food for all.
Ade Ayeyemi, group chief executive officer, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, in his remarks said agriculture is at the centre of Nigeria’s real sector and its growth will no doubt contribute to a sustainable vibrant economy.
“This is why this summit is an important occasion for us to put our heads together and find ways to maximise the significant potential gains of boosting agribusiness in Nigeria,” Ayeyemi said.
Success in Nigeria’s agricultural sector means feeding almost 200 million individuals and, amongst others, the reduction in the demand for foreign exchange to import food items into the country. This is coupled with the development of the agribusiness value-chain and its resultant creation of a new breed of entrepreneurs as well as jobs.
“We work with various governments and businesses within our 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 and remain fully committed to contributing to its economic development – a core objective of our founders,”Adeyemi said.