Networks Business Club has partnered with the Nigerian government and other stakeholders to promote the export of agricultural products as part of concerted efforts to diversify the economy and earn foreign exchange.
The club which is an initiative of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (City of David Parish) held the third in its series of capacity building programme on Agribusiness in Lagos with focus on exports.
The event featured the participation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and other private sector stakeholders from business and the academic sectors.
Mr. Ernest Ebi, chairman of Networks Business Club said it was important for Nigerians to be sensitised on the numerous opportunities abounding in the agricultural sector, so they can tap into it and create wealth for themselves and the country.
He noted that over-reliance on oil export for foreign exchange has made the country’s economy highly vulnerable to shocks, which have also led to the decline in government reserves and ultimately the current recession in the country.
“Nigeria has a huge opportunity to diversify along the agricultural value-chain with tremendous potential for exports. To take advantage we must consider value-addition as opposed to primary production by building capacity in the areas of production, processing and marketing,” Ebi said.
He urged policy makers to improve on the areas of research and development; market infrastructure; irrigation and agricultural extension support systems.
In another presentation for the CBN, socio-economic analyst Dr Ada Momah, disclosed that the apex bank had about 14 intervention fund programmes which agribusiness operators can access to promote their activities.
She mentioned the CBN’s N500 billion Export Stimulation Facility among others, specifically operated by the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM), to help registered exporters overcome operational challenges.
She disclosed that the government was interested in promoting the growth of small-holder farmers who may not have the assets to meet up the collateral requirements of funders by floating the National Collateral Registry (NCR) to facilitate the use of moveable assets to obtain business loans.
“Most people especially the young and women rarely have collateral to give for loans; instead of using fixed assets like lands and buildings, moveable assets like cars, farm produce, machines, laptops, and phones can now be used to obtain loans. Just register them on the NCR platform and once it is verified by the banks loans will be approved,” she said.
Dr Momah urged farmers to be diligent when approaching banks for facilities approved by the CBN as all such facilities are based on interest rates including processing fees of not more than nine per cent.
She advised them approach the directorate of Consumer Protection of the CBN to make complaints if any.
Momah stressed that doing agriculture in a business manner would lead to success and urged practitioners to endeavour to maintain a good cash-flow record in order to accelerate facilitation of credit requests.
Source: Footprint to Africa