Olabode Abikoye
Olabode Abikoye

The agric sector grew by more than 4 percent in 2016. This is attributed to the increasing investments in mechanized farming and other activities in the agric value chain, such as processing, storage, packaging, delivery and logistics by local and foreign investors as well as investment fund managers.

Moreover, the renewed focus of the Nigerian Government on reviving productivity in the sector also contributed to this growth. The new Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP), Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and other Agric-financing arrangement, have given farmers and businesses new impetus and opportunities for growth. Similarly, the current foreign exchange crunch has forced many private organisations to diversify into the agro export market to earn foreign exchange following the prevailing scarcity of forex.

Olabode Abikoye, Head, Agribusiness, Union Bank PLC, has recommended the need to deepen Government intervention policies as well as increase public and private partnerships for investments in the sector to sustain the growth, end food importation and encourage exportation.“The key to unlocking the growth potential of agriculture in Nigeria is to empower the millions of smallholder farmers who have access to millions of hectares of land. This will ensure they have access to appropriate inputs, sufficient financing that will significantly boost productivity. The key model developed to this effect is the Agricultural Franchise Model. This makes the small holder farmer a franchisee of a larger farm, with access to all the necessary inputs. This model stands to minimise the risks associated with investing in the sector and thereby stimulates the financial sector to invest in the Nigerian Agricultural Sector,” Abikoye said.

By Dike Onwuamaeze

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