A two-day conference aimed at creating a technical framework for the implementation of the agricultural component of the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) was organised by NIRSAL .
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, identified value chain financing as the major problem facing the Nigerian agricultural sector.
He further stated in his opening remarks that the need to mobilize investments into the agricultural value chains that is in tandem with the Federal Government’s commitment to increase annual agricultural growth from 4.1 percent to 8.3 percent by December 2020 was the reason behind the two-day conference.
In addition, he said Nigeria has all the natural resources to thrive in agriculture, but the sector lacks the capital with which to maximally meet the opportunities and said NIRSAL would work towards increasing commercial bank lending and other private investment from the current stance of 3 percent to about 10 percent by 2026.
The wife of the Vice President of Nigeria, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo who was in attendance encouraged agricultural experts to cultivate an agricultural enabling environment and execute plans that will make the sector viable.
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, emphasised the need encourage participation of farmers and specialists
Youths in attendance participated in a plenary session where issues affecting young entrepreneurs in the area of agriculture were raised.
NIRSAL’s MD/CEO, Mr. Abdulhameed, promised to handhold the young people and assist them through their interactions and plans to carve niches for themselves in agribusiness.
The conference ended with the formation of a Conference Implementation Task Force (CITF) comprising parties from NIRSAL, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the implementation office of the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan.
Lastly, Aliyu said: “The conference which was the first of its kind was designed to set the tone for participants representing segments of the agricultural value chains to enumerate and explain their challenges and propose solutions for mitigating them,”.