Experts in the agricultural value chain have advised that Nigeria must leverage COVID-19 pandemic to deepen the agribusiness ecosystem for transformation of the sector.
This, they maintained, is imperative following the important role agribusiness plays in the economic transformation process by providing forward and backward linkages to other sectors.
Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Laoye Jaiyeola, said this at the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#26) pre-summit event.
It is borne out of a partnership between the NESG, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
He said the summit, with the theme ‘Rethinking Approaches to Agribusiness Ecosystem in Nigeria,’ would help to shape strategic partnerships for recovery and resilience building for the country’s economy, businesses and households by delivering conversations that would put Nigeria in a strong position within the changing world order.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muazu Abdulkadir, said the government was promoting the ease of doing business by investing in infrastructure in rural areas to help smallholder farmers get their produce to the market.
Abdulkadir, who stated that the ministry was focusing on innovation, technology and the promotion of agricultural investment in a way that is beneficial to the country, added that the government signed a law to open up lands and attract youths to farming.
He said that the ministry is looking into providing infrastructure, and would continue to work with financial institutions to provide loans for youths interested in farming.
During the panel session, Director, Investment Promotion at the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Adeshina Emmanuel, revealed that the NIPC granted incentives, including a 100 per cent tax holiday between three to five years to investors in the agricultural industry.
Head of Partnership at AGRA, Ms. Jennifer Baarn, stated that AGRA continued to find ways to connect everyone putting into consideration, and the need for active collaboration between stakeholders in the agribusiness value chain.
Head, Agribusiness at Sterling Bank Plc, Ms Bukola Awosanya, revealed that agriculture is a business estimated to be a $1 trillion industry in sub-Sahara Africa by 2030.