Nigeria must leverage on the gains it has made so far in the agriculture value chain to revive the sector and boost the economy, President/CE, Dangote group, Aliko Dangote, has said.
Dangote spoke through the company’s Executive Director, Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Communications, Mansur Ahmed, at the ongoing AgrikExpo and Conference, organised by the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG).
Declaring the 3-Day conference open, he said one of the keys to achieving this feat is Agribusiness.
“The potential for Agribusiness in Nigeria is enormous when one looks at our natural resource endowment. It is therefore ironic that Nigeria is a net importer of virtually every food, food product and agro-input; many of which can be cultivated, breed, processed or manufactured locally,” he said.
He indicated that the Dangote Group is making a major shift to agriculture within the next five years, adding that the company would invest $4.5 billion into sugar, tomatoes, oil palm and into the downstream sector of production.
Dangote said the collapse in oil prices was a good thing as it has given Nigeria the motivation and necessary push to salvage the economy.
He highlighted the challenges to agriculture in Nigeria to include issue of land acquisition and poor investment, poor infrastructure, roads, railways, irrigation dams, electricity and poor distribution and marketing channels.
In addition, he called for appropriate financing of agricultural investments vis-à-vis production, processing and distribution or in marketing sub-sectors. He said the country needs higher quality inputs to ensure efficiency in production.
He called for increased human capital across every value chains of agro industry.
Aliko Dangote reiterated that the current challenge of security bedeviling the nation is an important reason many farmers are afraid of engaging in agricultural production.
He said extension services and research institutes needed to be rejuvenated, urging for increased integration and collaboration between private and public sectors, and also intergovernmental and interagency collaboration.
Dangote also urged the three tiers of government to collaborate in the interest of the farmer.
Speaking at the occasion, President of NABG, Sani Dangote, said agriculture is now a sustainable economic pursuit for the development and prosperity of any nation. He said the conference provides an avenue for sharing of ideas to overcome these challenges for government to take decisive measures.