Investors Commit $1.8bn to Finance Agribusiness in Nigeria
The Nigerian agricultural landscape and businesses is positioned to experience turn around as group of investors have committed the sum of $1.8 billion to develop agribusiness in the country.
Arc. Sonny Echono, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said this during the first Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group (NABG) and inauguration of the Agribusiness Investment Inter-Ministerial (AIM) and th working group on Thursday in Lagos.
Echono, commend the group effort and also charged them to turn these commitments into real investments to help create jobs for Nigeria’s crawling population of youths and women, and to also help lift millions of farmers out of poverty.
Echono, acknowledge the private sector as the engine of growth of any economy and also commend the private sector group for recognizing the smallholder farmers. He however added that for decades the private sector in agriculture was regrettably crowded out, and agriculture was treated just as a development program, with dominance of government. “We have ended the dominance of government and I am optimistic that the private sector will lead Nigeria in restoring its past glory in agriculture”.
NABG is a well structured private sector group comprised of all value chain stakeholders, from farmer associations and farmer cooperatives to input suppliers and aggregators – food processors, logistics, market research and consumers insights, packaging, media and communications, money deposit banks, commercial banks, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, insurance and microfinance companies, among others.
According Echono, NABG is helping government to ensure that Nigeria regains its past glory in agricultural production and in export of agricultural fresh produce.
He also noted that, “NABG is assisting us to set policy direction for the ongoing reforms of the agriculture sector”. He stressed that he is confident that the group will continue to attract viable local and foreign direct investments into agribusiness together with other development partners and MDAs.
He also explained that in 2013, the ministry commissioned a study of 75 leading agribusinesses in Nigeria to determine the nature of challenges being faced by agribusiness investors in Nigeria, the result he said showed that infrastructure was the most serious of about 72 percent, followed by financing 56 percent and supply security 55 percent. Government regulations, tax and policies accounted for 53 percent and constraints such as human capital 45, security 39, land 24 percent and government coordination 19 percents.
Echono, however assured that government is working to eradicate these constraints at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
He also said that the top four constraints are being addressed straight-on. For example, through the development of the Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZs) and Agribusiness Investment Regions (ABIR), we are addressing the issue of infrastructure and security of supplies constraints. “We are depending on Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) and Nigerian Incentive Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and Funds for Agricultural Financing in Nigeria (FAFIN) for financing and ‘We are depending on the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) and Agribusiness Investment Regions (ABIR) to ensure security of supply of raw materials.
The Nigerian Agribusiness Group can help in agricultural development.