Uche Usim, Abuja
Hopes of boosting agribusiness in Nigeria brightened on Friday as a consulting and digital technology firm, Crenov8 Consulting, is working on creating a strong linkage between Nigerian farmers and produce buyers in the United Arab Emirates and Africa.
The firm said the UAE market remains very lucrative for Nigerian farmers to explore because the Gulf nation imports about 80 per cent of its food and the market is estimated to be worth over $100 billion.
The Manager Consultant of Crenov8, Bola Oyedele who made the disclosures at a workshop themed: “Meet the Farmers Conference (MTFC)” in Abuja, said the aim was to bridge the gap between the African market and the Dubai market, and other markets within the Gulf region.
According to her, the government needs to broaden the existing bilateral agreement to accommodate private sector players.
She said the move has become necessary because in 2017 Crenov8 was totally rejected by the Dubai government when it tried to partner with it, insisting it would only deal with the Nigerian government.
“A country like China is making it because of their strong bilateral agreement with other countries; so we need our government to come in with a strong bilateral agreement that will bring in foreign investors for the development of the country,” she said.
Oyedele further revealed that an event was being put together from November 27-28 in Dubai for Nigerian farmers to meet their counterparts in other countries to allow for cross-pollination and synergy.
“The theme of that event is “Creating a Sustainable Future for Food Security”. Crenov8 has resolved to ensure the use of modern technology in Africa”, she added.
Also speaking at the event, the representative of the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association Of Nigeria (FACAN), Musa Labara, explained that the MTFC initiative was aimed at connecting large-scale agro-commodity producers to buyers from the Middle East.
He said: “We are not only talking about the international market but, including our local market because we need a standard market.
“We want to meet with the international standards, so that our commodity can be marketed both at home and abroad without any challenge,” he said.
A documentary broadcast at the event showed that Nigeria is the second largest producer of sorghum in the world and largest producer of rice in Africa, with over 30 million hectares of farmland cultivated.
It further revealed that on a yearly basis, Africa exports over $35 billion worth of agriculture produce to other parts of the world and analysts have speculated that this figure will rise to $400 billion by 2050.