By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Lagos – The Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) on Wednesday called for a paradigm shift from subsistence to mechanised farming to increase productivity and facilitate farmers’ access to funds in 2018.
Alhaji Sanni Dangote, the Group’s President made the call on Wednesday at the Annual Conference 2017 tagged: “Strengthening Agribusiness Investments Partnerships Platforms in Nigeria’’.
Dangote said it was pertinent for farmers to have access to long term loans, adding that the financial institutions could only do that when farmers cluster and produce in large quantity.
He said: “Part of the group’s objects in 2018 is to see a fundamental shift toward commercial farming mindset from the subsistence farming by millions of small holder farmers.
“We also hope that the same shift will be achieved in the women and youths entrepreneurs for strength and ease way of accessing fund by farmers.
“There is overwhelming evidence that lack of finance, inadequate infrastructure, lack of supply securities, inconsistencies of government policies, regulations, among others are top constraints facing agribusiness investments in Nigeria.’’
Dangote said that other objectives of the group in 2018 are “Launch of NABG Connect Online Application for all segments under the group to engage all stakeholders.
“Crowd funding at affordable single digit interest rates of agricultural investments up from about N700 billion to at least 10 per cent target of agricultural contribution to GDP and example of N1.8 trillion for 2016.
“Scale-up of irrigation farming best practices of at least two crop cycles for grains and fresh produce to ensure supply security of locally grown raw materials that meets the demand of food and beverage processors.
“Establishment of price stabilisation mechanisms to minimise market price fluctuations for producers and processors, sharp focus on control of pests and diseases through applied research and technology transfer to farmers timely.
“Targeted public-sector investments in infrastructure development such as agro-industrial parks and staple food processing zones,’’ he said.
The group president also called for immediate passage of Fertiliser Quality Control Bill and the Seed Bill.
He said that the Seed Bill had passed the first and second reading at the House of Representatives and now currently at the third reading stage.
Dangote called for commitment to institutional framework for price stabilisation through risk sharing and increase in agriculture crowd funding to at least N1.8 trillion. (NAN)