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First Bank Agric Expo 2019: Agriculture On The Front Burner As Nigeria Seeks To Diversify Economy

Agricultural value chain spotlighting opportunities and managing risks was the theme for a one day First Bank 2019 Agric Expo as stakeholders, government officials as well as farmers and agric business entrepreneurs brought Lagos to a standstill and ignited the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island

 

In a bid to encourage inflow of support and investment to spur agricultural development in Nigeria, stakeholders gathered to discuss the way forward in the agriculture value chain.

The First Bank 2019 Agric Expo with the theme Agricultural Value Chain Spotlighting Opportunities and Managing Rsks seeks to address challenges, showcase opportunities and create market for networking in the agric sector.

Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono, said to influence or grow a viable agricultural value chain these factors must be considered, agric industrialization, financing, research  of which he stressed his tenure will address and work to revive

Cocoa, cashew, rubber, coffee among others are cash crops produced in Nigeria. The country used to be among the top three cocoa producers in the world but that seems not to be the case again today as griculture is faced with challenges such as mechanization, rural – urban migration, land clearing issues, logistics as well as financing.

The third edition of Agric Expo by First Bank aptly provided the right platform to address challenges and prospects of restoring agriculture as veritable driver in Nigeria’s economy. Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO First Bank Nigeria submits that after several years of neglect, agriculture is now on the front burner as it offers Nigeria the only credible alternative to economic diversification which President Muhammadu Buhari administration seeks to exploit in repositioning the nation’s economy

First Bank has a large base of existing small, medium and commercial agribusiness clients across Nigeria who operate in all segments of the agricultural value chain covering primary production, storage, processing, packaging, and agro-export, which it seeks to highlight, hence the agric expo.

First Bank is also partnering with a good number of States on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Accelerated Development Agric Development Scheme (AADS). The Bank has disbursed more than forty billion Naira under the CBN’s Paddy Aggregation Scheme (PAS). Dr. Adeduntan told the gathering that First Bank has a team of dedicated agricultural professionals specializing in various fields of agricultural enterprise located in First Bank branches nationwide whose duty include to identify and support agricultural enterprise covering the entire geographical regions of the country with a suite of sector and friendly agricultural financing solutions tailored towards the bank’s support to the sector.

Farmers, agric entrepreneurs, SME’s and other stakeholders that make up the agriculture value chain participated at the exhibition. 2019 Exhibition witnessed remarkable increase in requests for exhibition spaces which is a testament to the fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria’s deliberate policies on National agricultural regeneration are working efficiently.

Visitors to the Expo had a field day at the stands purchasing agricultural produce and learning about current innovations and trends in the sector.

ELIZABETH WILLIAMS                                                                                    

 

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