Agriculture in Nigeria has a massive social and economic impact. More than 60 percent of the population is smallholder farmers. Yet, the nation’s full agricultural potential remains untapped.
Currently, the sector is hindered by low skills, a dearth of innovation, weak infrastructure, little funding, and lack of access to land, land titles, and lender security. But, given the right tools, these problems are solvable.
Stakeholders said farmers needed the tools, infrastructure, and competence to unlock the tremendous agricultural potential.
They spoke at a forum to announce the Feed Nigeria Summit (FNS) scheduled for August 27 and 28 at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
The Director-General, Feed Nigeria Summit and the Chief Executive Officer, Agro Nigeria, Mr. Richard-Mark Mbaram, said the event would be geared towards the furtherance of the sector and the positioning of the nation on the world’s billboard.
He said the event with the theme: Unlocking Prosperity through Partnership, would focus on the narratives critical for unleashing the job creation potential of the sector.
He further said that the Nigeria Agriculture Award would hold side by side with the FNS and would recognise giant strides by individuals and institutions in the sector.
He added that the events are the contribution of the organisation to the much-needed growth in the sector.
“This is Agro Nigeria’s effort towards giving back to the nation; making agriculture and agribusiness attractive and developed, Mbaram noted
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), Prof Eustace Iyayi said: “the Feed Nigeria Summit (FNS) is Nigeria’s flagship agricultural sector convocation and has, over the years, earned its position as a unique platform which addresses the critical issues concerning the nation’s agro-economy”.
While Nigeria’s agricultural potential is significant, he noted that unlocking it required practical, on-the-ground effort and innovation.
For Nigeria to meet the economic needs of its vast population, a viable and prosperous agricultural sector is an imperative. “It is the sector that will provide the lion share of the jobs badly needed to power the economy”, said Managing Director of Stallion Group, Anant Badjatya, a major sponsor of FNS 2019. In Badjatya’s opinion, “the agribusiness space in Nigeria needs to be populated by stakeholders who are willing to collaborate not only to solve existing problems, but also to take advantage of existing opportunities for increased value provision”.
Since its inception, the summit has been consistent in providing a platform for stakeholder tracking and enhancement of efforts to develop a virile agricultural economy. Thus, in 2017, the FNS focused centrally on the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme of the Federal Government with the primary aim of galvanising private sector interest and collaboration in an aspect of the government’s social investment scheme which focused on feeding primary school children across the country.
Following resolutions at the summit, the HGSFP was circuited to the agricultural value chain and expanded to feed some 7.7 million children in 24 states of the Federation.
The 2018 edition, themed “Consolidating the Growth” was hinged on the need to provide a framework for a flow of concerted support to the private sector in agriculture, to enable them forge ecosystems of resilience around their businesses. If achieved, Nigeria’s ability to maximally harness her strengths in areas of comparative advantage in agriculture would be vouchsafed.
Accordingly, FNS2019 will feature key narratives around the core theme which basically highlights the need for synergy among actors in the agribusiness ecosystem. “Any informed assessment of the Nigerian agricultural sector at this time will show that those who are really succeeding in business have embraced the culture of partnership”, Mbaram contended, while insisting that the “partnership ethos” was being leveraged for higher productivity boost in the sector.
SOURCE: THE NATION