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Transforming Agric’s Optics via Nollywood

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / 9:25 AM /FBNQuest Research

Our final coverage of the AfDB annual meetings in Ahmedabad last week focuses on the “Changing perceptions on Agriculture: The role of the Entertainment Industry” session. Undoubtedly, the perception of agriculture across Africa has been that of survival for the rural poor (i.e. subsistence farming).

Over the years, agriculture has evolved and multiple job opportunities within the sector’s value chain have emerged. However, it is still largely perceived as an area of expertise suitable for just the rural population
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Given that visuals play a key role in shaping perceptions, the entertainment industry could have a direct impact in transforming agriculture into a ‘cool’ profession
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Nigerian actress, director and producer, Omoni Oboli, highlighted the need to showcase agriculture through roles created by script writers. Typically, agriculturists are represented as struggling farmers and often regarded as less privileged. 

Oboli also expressed that while movie creators should have economically-focused movies in the market, this should be approached cautiously to avoid draining out the entertainment aspect in favour of a documentary. This could defeat the purpose of content restructuring as a wide range of viewers may not be reached. 

Based on anecdotal evidence, Nollywood is currently the second largest employer in Nigeria while agriculture remains the top job generator across the country. 

According to Nigeria’s national accounts for Q1, the entertainment industry grew by 12% y/y. However, we emphasize that this is from a very low base as the sector accounts for just 0.3% of total GDP. Meanwhile agriculture grew by 3.4% y/y in the same quarter and represents 21% of total GDP. 

Omotola Ekeinde, a well-known Nigerian actress and philanthropist, noted that poor access to finance is a constraint in the entertainment industry. It is difficult convincing financiers on the bankability of storylines for movies.  

As such, the whole value chain within the movie industry needs to be fully educated on the potential of agriculture to allow financiers and other supporting personnel buy into movie projects geared towards boosting agriculture. 

Nigeria’s Bank of Industry was identified as one financier that has supported the entertainment sector by providing funds for movie production. The BOI has a N1bn fund (Nollyfund) engineered to support film makers. 

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Raney, a Bollywood film director and producer expressed his intent to collaborate with Nollywood and assured delegates that communication processes which will assist agricultural development would be tackled at various meetings involving stakeholders. 

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