The Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, has said Nigeria has the capacity to feed Africa’s estimated 1.2 billion people if it harnesses the gains of its agricultural value chain.
According to the Ecobank boss, success in Nigeria’s agricultural sector means reduction in the demand for foreign exchange to import food items into the country and the development of the agribusiness value-chain with a resultant effect in the creation of a new breed of entrepreneurs as well as jobs for the teeming population.
Ayeyemi, said this in Lagos, at the Ecobank Agribusiness Summit in Lagos. The summit had its theme “Unlocking Productivity and Investment Opportunities Across Nigeria’s Agribusiness Value Chain”
According to Ayeyemi, Ecobank decided to create the summit to enable thought-leaders who are passionate about agriculture and its importance to Nigeria’s economy to put heads together and find ways to maximise the significant potential gains of boosting agribusiness in Nigeria.
He said Ecobank works with various governments and businesses within its footprint to provide support in harnessing and mining value from the huge natural resources across the continent.
“The success of this summit and its objectives is therefore important to Ecobank, as we do know Africa remains fully committed to contributing to its economic development – a core objective of our founders,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Nanono, affirmed that the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari was committed to finding a lasting solution to issues bothering on food security affecting the country.
Nanono, who was represented by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, also stressed the need for viable synergy and collaboration between relevant stakeholders in the agricultural sector, so as to further promote its contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the country.
“Nigeria’s potential and prospects, makes the agricultural sector a pilot for economic stabilization, diversification and growth in the country.
“Indeed, the sector is a major contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), contributing about 27 percent to the GDP and the biggest in job creation in the non-oil sector.
“At present, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is promoting and supporting the development of special agro-industrial processing funds, in collaboration with the African Development Bank (ADB) for value addition, import substitution, job creation and international market. “Commitment and support would continue to be given to the areas of promoting foreign and local enterprise to advance level of credit and investment in agriculture as a veritable step to diversify the economy.
“Within the overall sets of policy principles, the federal government is concentrating on providing an enabling environment and enabling playgrounds for stakeholders at all levels, to enhance investment and capital flow into the sector,” he added.
The maiden Ecobank Agribusiness summit in partnership with Vanguard Newspapers had exhibitors and participants from within and outside the country in attendance.