ABUJA—MINISTER of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, weekend, said Nigeria was set to reclaim her pride of place in agriculture as the main stay of the economy.
The minister made this statement at the just concluded agric business summit organised by the Embassy of Nigeria and Corporate Council on Africa, CCA, with support from the World Bank.
Dr. Adesina in his address, “articulated investment opportunities in Nigeria’s agricultural sector. He noted that agriculture accounts for 75% of the growth of the non-oil sector of the Nigerian economy, and assured that the present administration is “creating enabling environment, developing infrastructure, safeguarding investments, reducing official bottlenecks and motivating local and international investors.”
The minister confidently proclaimed the feasibility of reclaiming the former glory of Nigeria as a net exporter of food from its current net importer position.
One of the panel discussion focused on the huge potential for tomato paste processing and fresh produce grading and packaging export centres.
The Minister’s presentation, which drew applause, triggered more than a dozen prospective investors to meet with him after his presentation.
A former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Howard Jeter said “we are deeply impressed with the calibre, knowlege and vision of the Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria. This is Nigeria at its best”.
If Nigeria keeps on this way it will become Africa’s leader in agriculture”. The Vice President of the US-Exim Bank, Wanda Felton, praised the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture for “smart leadership” in steering a revolution of agriculture as a business, with several concrete results, in such a short time in office. “This has a huge potential to transform Nigeria’s economy and diversify it away from oil and gas”, she said.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Namadi Sambo led the high-powered delegation, which also included the governors of Rivers, Kaduna, Kwara, Nasarawa and Ekiti States. The event witnessed a sell-out capacity of 600 registered attendees from across the United States of America and Nigeria.
Among other high profile participants at the forum were Sanusi Lamido, Governor of the Central Bank, Evelyn Oputu of the Bank of Industries, CEO of Union Bank, Funke Osibodu, CEO of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema, Former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders, Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Foluso Phillips, who moderated the panel discussion on Nigeria’s Agribusiness Investment Climate and Financing Framework.
Managing Director of Nigeria Export-Import Bank, Robert Orya, and his United States counterpart, Rick Angiuoni, Regional Director of Export-Import Bank of the United States, CEO of Dominion Farms Limited, Calvin Burgess, who recently signed a $40 million investment partnership with Taraba state government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, while Timothy Prewitt of USAID MARKETS highlighted on the role of market in ensuring the success of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda.