As agribusiness thrives in Nigeria, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Corporate Farmers International (CFI) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Thursday launched the Nigeria Stock Brokers Agribusiness Group (NSBAG).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the official launch was held in Lagos at the IITA premises in Ogba.
Dr Kwesi Atta-Krah, Director, Country Alignment and System Integration, IITA said that it was time to transform agriculture from a mere culture based to a business.
Atta-Krah said that agriculture as a culture was no longer productive.
“It has come to a point where agriculture should not be just a culture but a business.
“It has the potential of economic growth, job creation and revenue generation.
“There is need to create an avenue to engage private sector into agriculture for it to succeed.
“It is therefore, important for everybody to be responsible to ensure that this launch does not end here,’’ he said.
Atta-Krah said it was important for everyone to work together for the goals of the initiative to succeed.
Mr Babatunde Sobamowo, Chairman of NSBAG said that the necessity of the group was to ensure a growth rate in agriculture contributions to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
Sobamowo said that it was time to raise incomes, reduce poverty level among others via agriculture because farmers were losing money due to the fact that there was no platform to place agricultural products.
“It is time to leverage on the opportunities presented by governments at various levels through some laudable initiatives.
“This initiative will create a lot of business opportunities to be able to access cheap and long term funds at a very low interest rate.
“The average interest rate by the CBN is 14 per cent and there is nobody that can do business with that kind of rate,’’ he said.
Speaking on the sideline, Mr Solomon Olakanmi, Secretary of NSBAG, told newsmen that it was about time the potentials in making agriculture a business was tapped into via the various value chains.
Olakanmi said that for agriculture to thrive it needed financial resources and the NSE would be playing an intermediary role between investors and producers.
“This will generate substantial income, jobs and wealth for the various stakeholders involved.
“All the sections in agriculture like production, processing and provision of necessary inputs, marketing, trading and funding will be adequately addressed,’’ he said.
The National Coordinator of CFI, Prince Ade Ajayi, said that the future of agribusiness would change with the emergence of NSBAG.
Ajayi said “the launch of NSBAG will turn around and reshaping the economy of our nation.
“CFI had a dream to develop the nation’s real sector economy through agribusiness in collaboration with agribusiness institutions like IITA, Agric Society of Nigeria, FIIRO, NSE,’’ he said. (NAN)