West Africa Exhibition and Conference confirms the holding of the Annual 2nd Agribusiness Tradeshow and Conference in Abuja from 27 – 28 June, 2016.
According to the Chief Executive Officer/Director of Events, Dr. Kune Igoni, the event with the theme “The new Agricultural Agenda for Economic Growth and Food Security,” is expected to be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dr. Igoni said, the 2nd annual Agribusiness Tradeshow & Conference will be a platform to discuss the potential and viability of the agriculture business in Nigeria and the West Africa sub region as it seeks to symbolize the opportunities in the Agribusiness, as well as synergize on technologies, techniques and human resources to take this all important sector, making it attractive to investors.
He opined that the paradigm shift in Agriculture through its commercialization has become potentially necessary, owing to the fact that for too long, agriculture and farming has been practiced by farmers in Africa on a subsistence level.
He commended the administration of Muhammadu Buhari for recognising Agriculture as key to economic growth and the major alternative to crude oil as an income earner for the Nigerian economy, noting that the imperativeness of exploring the potential profitability of every agricultural investment, determines whether it makes financial sense to proceed in the short, medium and long term.
Dr. Igoni pointed out that Africa still holds about 60% of global uncultivated land and the key to unlocking the growth of agriculture in Africa is to improve the business of the small scale farmers who have access to millions of hectares needed to boost productivity. He said research has shown that Nigeria has over 80 million hectares, accounting for 23% of arable land in West Africa and Agriculture is presently contributing heavily to the country’s GDP as well as driving employment opportunities and window for social investment. Nigeria he said is also the leading country with greater opportunity in West Africa with increased integration, making the country viable in no small way to improve food security in the region. It is good news that the Bank of Industry has distributed over 53 Billion Naira as loans to the Agribusiness value chain while, other banks and financial institutions, including the Unity Bank has such portfolio as the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme, he added.
The Director of Event disclosed that from available reports, the Central Bank of Nigeria has also liberalised the condition for accessing the 200Billion Naira commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme to practicing farmers and sector players. In addition the Nigerian Export – Import (NEXIM) bank has introduced a Special Fund for Cassava export and the United Bank for Africa. Nigeria is also the largest producer of almost every major agricultural commodity in West Africa, given the significance of the Nigerian economy in West Africa - with approximately 60 percent of the population and over 50 percent of the region Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The organisers are therefore, sincerely inviting all stakeholders in this sector to share and participate in this event. The conference segment will discuss a wide range of agro allied activities, cutting across Livestock, Animal, Feeds, Agro- processing, seed production, soil pollution, research and machineries, the event Director added.