Nigerians have been advised to change their perception about agriculture so as to make financing of the sector much easier.
Speakers at the 2018 annual symposium of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Agricultural and Allied Group with the theme: “Bridging the Funding Gap and De-risking Agricultural Finance’ which held in Lagos gave the advice.
Tunji Falade, Chairman LCCI Agric and Agro Allied Group while speaking at the symposium, explained that the whole idea is to bring in people who can assist in the area of funding because the agricultural sector is seen as a risky venture over the years.
“Traditionally it is seen like that, and that is why we bring in organisation like NIRSAL who is interested in de-risking agriculture and other commercial banks to come and tell us what they are doing in the area of increasing funding for agriculture.
He said that more efforts must be channeled towards enabling access to financing if Nigeria is to attain self-sufficiency in food production, adding that funding is an integral part of agriculture just like training that people need to learn more about how to handle agriculture.
Falade also called on farmers to embrace new technologies and improved seedlings to get maximum yields and returns, stressing that there is need for mechanization, irrigation in agricultural activities which would only be solved through massive investment in agriculture.
“We need to go mechanised, we need irrigation, we need massive investment in agriculture so that we can achieve food sufficiency.
“In advanced countries like the United States, they have invested heavily in agriculture to the extent that they have 30,000 farms with each average of about 1,000. There needs to be collaboration. We need to learn from people who have done this successfully.
Folashade Joseph Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) Managing Director said that one of the major policy thrusts of the government is economic diversification and the pivot of that diversification drive is the agricultural sector.
He added that NAIC has been playing various supporting roles in the development of the agricultural sector in the nation such as protecting farmers from effects of natural disasters such as floods, droughts or typhoons through effective risk transfer.
Joseph, who was represented by Ekundayo Mobayo, Head Lagos office, advised farmers to key into some of the policies designed for the agricultural value chain which according to her include; crop production insurance policy, livestock, area yield combined produce and investment insurance, fishing nets and boats cover, marine cargo, fire and burglary, farm assets, goods-in-transits and motor vehicle insurance.
She said that the application of insurance of agriculture as a vital risk management tool has continued to attract interest of various policy makers across the globe.
The reason, according to her, is that resources across the globe are getting leaner due to incessant occurrence of economic depression plaguing many nations.
“Insurance, therefore, comes with the solution of risk management, income and stabilisation and economic waste stoppage.
A unique strength of the corporation is the spread of its branches which are found in every of the nation’s state capital. The reason for the wide spread is due to the fact that agricultural risks need constant monitoring and prompt attention when claims arises,” she added.
Emeka Emuwa, Managing Director and of Union Bank Plc while speaking at the symposium said advised farmers to structure their farming processes to fit in as bankable projects with lesser association to risk.
Emuwa, who was represented by Olawale Olanrewaju, Head of Agricultural Business, Union Bank, stated that agriculture faces competition from other sectors of the economy when it comes to financing, adding that even when banks are willing to lend to agriculture, the inability of many farmers to show records to convince the bank or ability to execute the proposed project most times discourages lending.
“Without showing the bank their books, farmers are unable to convince us that they are able to utilize the funds they are requesting. We can only lend to businesses who understand risk and we also want organization that can use the money for what they intended,” he said.
The post Organised Private Sector Canvasses Perception Change About Agriculture appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.
Go to News Source
Author: Oluseyi Taiwo-Oguntuase