By Steve Agbota
As part of its specific objectives for 2018, Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), has called for increase in crowd funding at affordable single digit interest rates for agricultural investments to at least N1.8 trillion in the country.
To this end, NABG also advocated immediate passage of the Fertiliser Quality Control Bill, which public hearing held on November 14, 2017 and immediate passage of the Seed Bill, which has been passed at 1st and 2nd reading at the House of Representatives and currently at the 3rd reading stage.
Speaking at a group’s annual press conference in Lagos yesterday, with the theme, “Strengthening Agribusiness Investments Partnership Platforms in Nigeria,” the NABG President, Sani Dangote, said the crowd funding, which currently stands at N700 billion should be increased to at least 10 per cent target of agricultural contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He added that there should be fundamental shift towards commercial farming mindset from subsistence farming by millions of smallholder farmers, women and youth entrepreneurs. According to him, Nigeria needs to scaleup irrigation farming best practices (at least two crop cycles for grains and fresh produce) to ensure supply security of locally grown raw materials that meet the demand of food and beverage processors.
He said, “our vision for 2018 is to facilitate the drafting of a bill and its passage into law of a National Agribusiness Investment Plan for Food and Nutrition Security in Nigeria.
“Our specific goals include sharp focus on policies, regulations and laws to promote affordable financing, significantly improve the agricultural input and output markets and the processing of locally grown staple foods into nutritious, conveniently packaged consumer food products.
However, he said there is overwhelming evidence that lack of affordable financing, inadequate infrastructure, lack of supply securities, inconsistencies of government policies and regulations are top key constraints facing agribusiness investments in Nigeria.
He said with the passage into law of a National Agribusiness Investment Plan for Food and Nutrition Security in Nigeria, those constraints would become things of the past.