Thursday, July 1, 2021 / 11:19 AM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header
Image Credit: Welcome2Africa International
With the reality that Agriculture contributes about 24% of Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and remains the major employer of labour in the country, the need for increased investments in the sector has become compelling.
This was the central focus of the discussion at the Welcome2Africa International forum in partnership with Unity Bank, NIRSAL, and DLM which explored the theme "Accessing Alternative Funding Instruments for Agri-Financing".
The event brought together stakeholders across the agric sector value chain and presented an opportunity for participants to understand how the capital market in Nigeria can support the financing of a sector that is pivotal to the nation's socio-economic development.
In her opening remarks, the MD/CEO of Welcome2Africa Ms. Bamidele Seun Owoola said the forum provided the needed platform to establish the facilitation of agribusiness pipelines and funding opportunities in the capital market. It would open opportunities for stakeholders to explore financing measures that can accelerate the development of the agriculture sector.
She described the Agric sector as the mainstay of the economy and had the potential to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty, foster economic growth and development, earn foreign exchange and increase the human development index (HDI).
According to her, for the Agriculture sector to live up to its potential, there is a need for innovative financing and investments most especially from the capital markets.
Delivering his presentation the lead presenter and MD/CEO of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abbati Abdulhameed speaking on "Agricultural Investments and the Opportunities for the capital market" believed Africa's largest market presents immense opportunities for the supply of food, with a population, projected to be the third-largest in the world by 2050.
He decried the fact that despite current performance and projected market opportunities, agriculture continues to suffer from reduced interest from the capital market and other financiers.
Speaking further, he said NIRSAL's inclusive integrated private agriculture/agribusiness investment development (IPAID) model provides a roadmap for financiers to invest in de-risked agribusiness opportunities.
Mr. Abdulhameed added that NIRSAL's Credit Risk Guarantee and Interest Draw Back products provide comfort to capital market players and investors in providing the required financing to agriculture.
He stressed the need for financing models through the capital market that could support the value-added processing of agro products which include; cassava, maize, and soya, potato, aquaculture, wheat, sugarcane, ginger & shea, sesame, hibiscus, fresh fruits, and vegetable.
NIRSAL's MD/CEO also believed that investments in the following areas would speed up the growth of the agric sector, logistics, irrigation, land development, mechanization, agro-dealing, input, and equipment supply.
The forum featured several panel sessions covering the following topics;