Experts Identify Barrier to Funding Agriculture

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Experts have identified knowledge gap as a major hindrance to accessing finance for agricultural projects.

They pointed out that in addition to gathering knowledge, there was need to get the right management, market and tools to enable the sector to be prioritised among the nations’ scale of preference.

They made this known at a virtual session organised by Foreign Investment Network (FIN) in partnership with Project Capital+, recently.

The discussion themed, “Attracting Finance to Agricultural Sector Projects in times of Crisis”, sought to explore global funding opportunities for investors in the sector.

Speaking at the session, Founder and Partner of Dem – Inter, Mark Lewis, stated that beyond finance, some non-monetary factors come to play in agriculture operations for investment to yield returns.

He listed these factors as planning, experienced managers, policy outlines, market feasibility and technology tools.

He said, “Most projects fail because of the calibre of planning and management involved. It is important to employ experienced managers whose experience will come to play whenever decisions are to be taken. It is also important that you involve local people in the management team to enhance sustainability. Also worthy of note here are the products. Whatever products should be such that is sellable in the market, this is why a feasibility study of the market is very key.”

Also speaking, Head of Energy and Natural Resources,-Aelex, Soji Awogbade stated that agriculture in Nigeria have not been enjoying the desired preference largely because produce are not exposed to decent shelf life that will enhance its value.

He reiterated that Nigeria must invest in technology and right tools to enable food security after which it can advance to the level of

exporting food.

“Let it be known that land tenure or legal structure is not the barrier to agriculture in Nigeria, all we need is to get our tools and technology right.”

On her part, Chairman of FIN, Mrs Olayinka Fayemi argued that while there are finance doors for agricultural projects, the problem is how to access or process the available opportunities.

She said, “Once investors understand the process and how to go about accessing fund, the challenge of funding projects would have been settled. Project Capital+ for example is one of those organisations that specialise in putting investors through the process of accessing finance for agricultural projects”