Some stakeholders in agriculture sector has collaborated in a summit to promote food security and Nutrition via agribusiness.
The Agribusiness Food Security and Nutrition summit organised by the publishers of the MSMEs Today on Wednesday in Lagos, is centred on deliberations to tackle the threatening food insecurity situation in the country.
The summit themed: ‘ Meeting the Food Security and Nutrition Needs of the Nation through Sustainable Agriculture had in attendance policy makers, agriculture experts, Farm association and the private sector.
Mr Amadi Ihekwumere, The Convener of the Summit, said it is a clarion call to take issues of agribusiness and food security on the front burner.
According to him “We feel that as a publication we have an obligation to play our own part in terms of how we support what the government, the private sector, and MSMEs are doing on the agriculture front.
“The agric. sector is supposed to be a sector that should be ranking as high as the oil and gas sector in Nigeria in terms of supporting the economy.
“The sector is pivotal in providing jobs and creating employment, and also being able to attract investment and attract foreign exchange by export of agro-produce.
“And we feel obligated to create a platform like this, where we will bring stakeholders in government, both policymakers, business leaders, practitioners, and stakeholders engaged in diverse value chain aspects of agriculture.
“This is to discuss the issues that are very critical to either the growth or the downward trend of the sector and how to tackle them.
“Therefore we are here consider what concerted actions, policies, synergies, and collaborations do we require to bring on board in order that we will be able to actualize our nation’s Food and Nutritional Security Plan in the agric. sector,” Amadi said
Representing the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) Mr Wale Fasoya, The Director in charge of Partnership and Coordination, Dr Friday Okpara, said the agency is ready to support all MSMEs in the sector.
“ As a government agency, we are extending our hands of fellowship, to all the associations that are here, and all the private sector bodies also.
“ As an agency we support farmers as cooperatives and not individually to bring out their best in food security and productivity.
“SMEDAN understands the importance of agriculture hence the formation of a full fledged department of Agribusiness development and extension services to boost the sector’s productivity.
“So we appeal to all farmers association to come to SMEDAN for all necessary help and collaboration they may need,” Fasoya said.
In his keynote address, Mr Mohammed Adama of KPMG, represented by Mr Akintoye Alawode said that the agric. Sector has a lot of untapped potential.
“There has been a lot of talking about agriculture, but we just never seem to be able to realise the potential. So we need look at with the statistics around Nigeria’s agricultural landscape.
“We need to refresh our memories on how much potentials we are sitting on in the agric sector. And let us also look at some of the challenges that is preventing us from realising these huge potentials.
“There is no doubt in which direction we should go. Agriculture has to be in the forefront and it is not just emphasising the fact that it has to be in the forefront but there is a lot of urgency to it now.
“ We must do something now to ensure food security in the country,” Alawode said.
On his part, The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Dr Ezra Yakusak, represented by Mr Samuel Oyeyipo, is ready to support the export ambitions of farmers.
“Permit me to inform this gathering that the NEPC has concluded the implementation of Export Expansion Facility Programme (EFP) of the federal government of Nigeria to bring export related businesses back to their feet.
“ We also want you to know that the Exporters Expansion Ground (EEG) has been redesigned to serve Nigerian exporters better.
“These steps were taken to create market access for many Nigerian products.
“The council wish to wish to identify with this vision of this programme and assure it shall continue to partner with any agency or private sector, especially on issues related to the development and production of agro-exports from Nigeria to all countries of the world,” Yakusak said.