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1.3% agric output insufficient for food, raw materials demands – Ighodalo

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1.3% agric output insufficient for food, raw materials demands – Ighodalo

By Itohan Abara-Laserian

Sterling Bank Plc Chairman of the Board, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, said annual agricultural production of 1.3 percent is insufficient to meet demand for food and raw materials.

Ighodalo said in his remarks at the 4th Africa Agriculture Summit (ASA) 2021 organized by Sterling Bank on the theme: “Building the New Agricultural Order” which was held virtually in Lagos.

He said it was unacceptable that Nigeria and Africa as a whole suffered from shortages of food and raw materials amid fertile and arable land.

“We think it is an unacceptable and ironic paradox to run out, have shortages of raw materials and have food insecurity amidst so much fertile and arable land across Africa.

“Over the past three years, our Bank has paid attention and focused its resources on the sectors of health, agriculture, renewable energy, education and transport. These, when put together, represent the heart of Sterling, and right in the middle of our strategy is the agriculture business for us.

“ASA has become more than just a summit, but one of the resources to provide powerful suggestions to stimulate genuine inclusive economic growth in Africa, create jobs, reduce poverty and provide a solid foundation for our manufacturing sector.

“There has been a lot of talk about agriculture as an engine of economic growth and wealth creation with the continuing effects of the pandemic disrupting supply chains, increasing market volatility, putting pressure on demand capacity. effective and affects the production and overall economic prospects of the continent appear. dark.

“While millions of people are at risk of being deprived of their livelihoods, posing major food security challenges, with an estimated population of over 200 million people growing at an annual rate of 3%, regardless Recent interventions, agricultural productivity in Nigeria increasing by about 1.3% is insufficient to meet our demand for food and raw materials, ”he said.

Ighodalo noted that agricultural production has suffered from low yields per hectare due to shortages and quality of inputs, climate change, among others.

“Therefore, our agricultural deficit continues to widen despite government interventions, regardless of the fact that a wide range of opportunities abound.

“When we launched ASA 4 years ago, we designed it as a true advocacy platform to provide solutions to rebuild and transform our agricultural sector into a resilient growth engine.

“Sterling Bank is committed to changing the rhetoric in agriculture, catalyzing income growth. The developed world is in the middle of the 4th industrial revolution and Africa is still far behind, ”he said.

Group Managing Director / CEO Saro Africa Mr. Rasheed Sarumi hinted that Nigeria faces many challenges, but technological innovations will turn those challenges into smart capital.

According to Sarumi, some Nigerian agricultural companies have deployed innovations and technologies to expand their businesses.

He warned that farming should not be seen as a retired business, assuring that there was a favorable environment for farming to thrive.

He said: “Nigeria faces many challenges, one of which is dollar liquidity resulting from a big import bill and agriculture can really come to the rescue.

“I have seen a transformation in particular over the past 10 years in agriculture. The confidence of my discussion is the private sector bringing innovation. Innovation can solve problems and would attract smart capital, solve consumer problems, propel the growth of agriculture in Africa, more than we have had in the last 30 or 10 years.

“Some Nigerian companies are doing quite well in the innovative agricultural space like Babban Gona, Walcot in rice production, Indorama, among others.

“With the interventions of financial institutions, especially the CBN, agricultural yields are improving, livelihoods have improved,” he said.

He added that “our population is growing and there is a need to fill the void as there are upstream, downstream customers both in Nigeria, Africa and the world to serve.

“Smart people turn challenges into opportunities.

“If we achieve good productivity, we will have the opportunity to serve Africa and the world.

“Agriculture is about using technology and innovative tools to solve problems that will create wealth and involve more people in agriculture,” he noted.

Sarumi gave a keynote address on “Building a strong private sector-led agribusiness industry by supporting government policies and leveraging the opportunities presented by AfCFTA”.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the event hosted several roundtable discussions aimed at discovering practical solutions to the region’s unique challenges.

It also aimed to facilitate transactions between willing investors and potentially profitable agricultural businesses and to highlight the opportunities available in the sector. (www.)

Source: NAN

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