The world over, across all sectors of the global economy, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is leaving ruins in its trail. One of the most battered is the agricultural sector.
In Nigeria, the pandemic came at a time the agricultural sector was struggling to increase yield, add value to output and spur national productivity. These efforts were largely constrained by a multiplicity of impediments: the Boko Haram insurgency, climate vicissitudes, pest invasion, floods etc.
To this end, there is a dire need for a resurgence in the Nigerian agricultural space. The Feed Nigeria Summit 2020 has the answer!
FNS2020: Propelling Resurgence
To address the need for a recalibration of Nigeria’s agricultural productivity, especially agro-recovery and prosperity post-COVID-19, the Summit is themed: Agribusiness: Leading Nigeria’s Recovery.
Initially scheduled for October 6 and 7th, the FNS Organising Committee in a bid to deliver a thorough and highly-effective conference, moved the event to December 1st and 2nd.
The venue remains the Ladi Kwali Conference Centre, Sheraton Hotel and Towers, in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Hosted on an annual basis by AgroNigeria, the summit provides an unparalleled platform for stakeholders to track and enhance Nigeria’s journey towards economic diversification. So the question is: How far can Nigeria travel on the path of economic recovery without the healing balm that agriculture provides?
It is safe to say that agriculture has a critical role to play in the post-pandemic era, and FNS2020 is set to facilitate the process. Judging by its excellent track record, there is little doubt as to the deliverables.
Over the years, the Feed Nigeria Summit has consistently provided an unparalleled platform for stakeholders to track and enhance Nigeria’s race towards self-sufficiency in agricultural production.
In 2017, the event focused centrally on the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) of the Federal Government with the primary aim of connecting it with the farm gate.
The rationale for this was the need to make the Programme a catalyst for increased agricultural productivity and larger economic restoration, particularly at a time when Nigeria was battling an economic recession.
Following resolutions made at the Summit in 2017, the HGSFP re-energised the agricultural value chain, expanding the programme to feed some 7.7 million children in 24 states of the federation.
In 2018, the Summit sought to build on the gains from the previous year’s action plan, informing the theme, Consolidating the Growth. This theme was hinged on the need to provide a framework for more intensive synergising between the private and public sectors with a view to strategically deploying Nigeria’s strengths in the areas of her comparative advantage.
Commendably so, Nigeria did attain self-sufficiency in rice production and impressive figures were registered.
In 2019, the Summit emphasised the indispensable role of partnership in fostering the youths’ participation in agribusiness through the strengthening of Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMES). In addition, last year’s edition featured the Mezzanine Deal Brokerage room.
The Room was wholly dedicated to forging project partnerships among farmer associations and cooperatives that required wholesale delivery of solutions – whether on-farm, farm-gate or market-related. This innovative component was made possible through the partnerships between IBM, the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN) and AgroNigeria.
FNS2020: A March Down to Recovery
The 2020 Feed Nigeria Summit (FNS) will host an assembly of critical stakeholders in the agricultural sector charged with the responsibility to proffer solutions to the crisis occasioned by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As usual, this year’s edition is set to present an assembly of veritable stakeholders and industry leaders in the Nigerian agricultural space. The Summit will, therefore, feature high-powered sessions and presentations on key areas across the agricultural value chain, especially those that have been the hardest hit by the pandemic.
The theme will be recovery-oriented and this will feature prominently throughout the entire event delivery framework. It will provide a platform for national and sub-national public leaderships to advance their agro-economic messages while also offering a hand of partnership to the private sector.
Consequently, the Agriculture Policy Alliance Project (APAP), a program designed to onboard the private sector into the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s policy conceptualization, production and implementation framework, will also feature prominently. This is in addition to the projection of the goals, objectives and aspirations of FMARD’s new policy document, the National Agricultural Technology & Innovation Plan (NATIP).
The special package for this year’s event will be the strategic launch of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Project. The SAPZ is a strategic initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria (through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to develop Nigeria’s agro-industrial capacity, terminate post-harvest losses in agriculture, reduce food importation, strengthen nutritional security, boost revenue generation and secure wealth for rural farming communities.
Also, for this year’s Summit, key entities like the FMARD, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the Nigerian Agricultural Land Development Agency (NALDA), the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN), the the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, among others, are expected to play key roles alongside major sub-national actors.
With the impact of COVID-19 gradually subsiding and economic activities gradually gaining momentum, it is important that conversations on how to move the agricultural sector forward and to feed Nigeria’s expanding population, top the agenda.