By Moses Nosike
Sterling Bank Plc, has announced an ambitious attempt aimed at addressing issues preventing agribusiness in Africa from attaining its full potential at its forthcoming Agriculture Summit Africa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), between 5th and 6th of September 2019.
The continental summit which is being organised under the theme of “Agriculture – Your Piece of The Trillion-Dollar Economy” seeks to actualise the $1 trillion African agribusiness economy plan by 2030. The plan came into being upon the realisation that Africa has about 50 percent of the world’s fertile and unused land estimated as 450 million hectares.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos recently, Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking, Sterling Bank, Mr. Yemi Odubiyi, said that the summit will address the issues preventing the agricultural sector from attaining its potential because food security on the continent has become a critical issue.
Odubiyi said, “The agrarian land, which is the preserve of the continent, is now under threat because of issues of terrorism and other security concerns that have made some of those lands to be depopulated while there is a remarkable increase in population rate across the continent.
According to him, this development has made it imperative to address the issue of food security which would in the long run also help to address unemployment, another major continental challenge.
He said Sterling Bank has been a leading financial institution supporting large agricultural firms in the country by setting aside about 10 percent of its loan portfolio to the finance of the agriculture sector.
Also speaking, Group Head, Agriculture and Export, Sterling Bank,Mrs. Bukola Awosanya, explained that the first agriculture summit organised by the bank last year brought together smallholder farmers, input suppliers, agro-processing entrepreneurs, development finance agencies, policy makers and captains of industry in Abuja. According to her, the 2018 summit focused on co-creating a sustainable Nigerian economy through rural agricultural enterprise”.
“This year, we have raised the bar by unveiling the Agriculture Summit Africa, which is a more ambitious attempt at addressing issues preventing agribusiness in Africa from attaining their full potential. It should surprise no one that Sterling Bank and its partners are leading the charge to address the issues facing agribusiness on the continent.
She said that Sterling Bank has helped a lot in developing the country’s agriculture value chain, adding the bank is a thought leader and the preferred lender for smallholder farmers, agribusinesses, input suppliers and other players in the local agricultural value chain”.