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Investors Commit $1.8bn To Finance Agribusiness In Nigeria

The Nigerian agricultural landscape and businesses is set to experience turn around as group of investors have committed the sum of $1.8 billion (about N360 billion), to develop agriculture and agribusiness in the country
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Arc. Sonny Echono, disclosed this during the first Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group, NABG, and inauguration of the Agribusiness Investment Inter- Ministerial, AIM, working group on Thursday in Lagos.
While commending the bold steps of the group, Echono charged them to turn these commitments into real investments to help create jobs for Nigeria’s teeming population of youths and women, and to also help lift millions of farmers out of poverty.
“Your recognition that smallholder farmers are the largest private sector group in Nigeria has helped to foster economic growth in rural Nigeria as you provide guaranteed off-take markets for millions of smallholder farmers across the country,” he said.
Acknowledging the private sector as the engine of growth of any economy, he however lamented that for decades the private sector in agriculture was unfortunately 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 an organized private sector group comprised of all value chain stakeholders, from farmer associations and farmer cooperatives to input suppliers and aggregators- food processors, logistics, packaging, market research and consumers insights, media and communications, money deposit banks, commercial banks, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, insurance and microfinance companies, among others. According to the permanent Secretary, NABG is helping government to ensure that Nigeria regains its past glory in agricultural production and productivity and in export trade of agricultural fresh produce.
“NABG is helping us to set policy direction for the ongoing reforms of the agriculture sector”. He expressed confidence that the group will continue to attract viable local and foreign direct investments into agriculture and agribusiness together with other development partners and MDAs.
Reflecting on agriculture in Nigeria, he explained that when 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 per cent, followed by financing 56 per cent and supply security 55 per cent.
Government regulations, tax and policies accounted for 53 per cent. Other constraints included human capital 45, security 39, land 24 and government coordination 19 per cents, respectively. He however assured that government is working to eliminate these constraints at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Permit me to say that the top four constraints are being addressed head-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 leveraging 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; ‘We are leveraging the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) and Agribusiness Investment Regions (ABIR) to ensure security of supply of raw materials”, Echono assured.
The Nigerian Agribusiness Group can help in these areas, by articulating the position of private sector agribusinesses on matters relating to policies, legal and regulatory environments.

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