The Managing Director, AgroNigeria, Mr Richard-Mark Mbaram, says agro industrialisation is key to achieving economic transformation, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), food security and improved nutrition.
Mbaram, who is also the Director-General of Feed Nigeria Summit (FNS), said on Tuesday in Lagos that agriculture played a critical role in transforming economies to reach the SDG’s, along with achieving other essential development goals such as ensuring food security and improved nutrition.
He said that under-performing agriculture was stifling the effective functioning of the industrial sector; consequently, this has resulted in a weak linkage between the agricultural and industrial sectors in the face of a myriad of opportunities.
He called for an increased economic momentum through partnerships with the private sector to advance the industrialisation of the agricultural sector.
Nigeria, according to him, has huge potential for agro-allied transformation. This includes hosting a large spectrum of suitable agro-climatic conditions that allows a broad range of agricultural production.
“Using agriculture to power industrialisation calls for a strong public-private sector partnership that would increase small farm holders’ productivity and enhance their contributions to national and regional value chains,” Mbaram said.
He lauded the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono, for propelling a partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to promote on agro-allied industrialisation.
According to Mbaram, the minister has demonstrated that the ministry is ready to work with AfDB to use agro-allied industrialisation as an effective strategy to achieve productivity, increased employment generation and poverty reduction.
He added that the minister was doing all to support a home grown agenda for economic and social transformation through strong collaborative efforts with the private sector.
“The minister is preparing conditions for industrialisation through modernisation of agriculture that would raise incomes and productivity of poor farmers, lowering food prices and improving nutrition.
“The keys to making agricultural transformation a reality is making modern technologies available and supporting investment in agricultural Research and Development (R&D).
“The National agricultural research system needs to be funded to find new technologies suitable for local conditions,” he said in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Mbaram said AfDB Group President, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, identified Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZ), as a potential joint venture opportunity for Nigeria’s agricultural investment.
He added that through the SCPZ initiative, the bank seeks to transform rural areas from “zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity.”
He urged Nigerians to support the Federal Government’s policies towards achieving the agro-allied industrialisation agenda that would see agriculture taking the lead in contributions to the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and becoming the economic mainstay once again.