At food summit, stakeholders chart path to agric revival
The ‘Feed Nigeria Summit (FNS) 2017’, first in its annual series, has been held in Lagos.
It was a high level convocation, tagged “Feed Nigeria,To Feed Africa.” It was organized by Agro Nigeria, an agricultural mouthpiece, in collaboration with its partners, to create a platform for strategic engagement between the government, private sector players and various development communities as well as an initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Speaking at the event, the chairman of AgroNigeria, Elder Edem Ekwo, noted that the FNS was convened to critically address challenges of agriculture in the country and proffer workable solutions to them.
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo was represented by Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, who gave the opening speech.
According to her, the Home Grown School Feeding programme is one of the four social investment schemes of the Buhari Administration and is deliberately targeted at production by smallholder famers in the communites while generating jobs for community women who serve as cooks to the pupils.
The president of AfDB, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, in a goodwill message, noted that Nigeria was well positioned in the matrix of feeding Africa sustainably.
He commended the organisers of the event, stating that it was the first of such Feed Africa Summits at country level across the continent and provides an excellent platform for discussing how to further ramp up support for agriculture as a business.
Adesina restated AFDB’s resolve to transform rural economies in Africa through agriculture value chains to create market opportunities for farmers.
He urged governments to provide incentives for food and agribusiness companies to locate in rural areas and establish staple crop-processing zones (SCPZ) which are vast agro –industrial zones to supported food industries to established in order to reduce the cost of doing business, create huge market pool for farmers and cut post-harvest losses.
The SCPZs will also transform rural Africa into new zones of economic prosperity, he noted.
An official, Mohammed Kagu, said the Central Bank of Nigeria has mandated the creation of agribusiness departments in banks to bridge the gap between them and farmers.
The summit ended with a note of appreciation by the chief executive officer of Agro Nigeria, Mr. Richard-Mark Mbaram, who assured the delegates that a communique on resolutions made at the summit would be issued and presented to relevant stakeholders.