The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has described the agricultural sector as a major and very important sector of the economy that employs about 38 percent of the total working population and accounts for a large share of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The National President of NACCIMA, Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu, who spoke at the third edition of Daily Trust Agricultural Conference and Exhibition noted that recent success in the sector has demonstrated that with the right policies, Nigeria can scale up productive activities, improve food production and food security as well as make impact within the agricultural value chain.
Hajiya Saratu, who was represented by the Chairman, NACCIMA Agric Trade Group, Chief Ade Adefeko said the African Development Bank stated that about $35billion is spent on food imports annually across the continent despite the fact that Africa is home to two-third of the world’s most arable uncultivated land.
“Rice is a staple in Nigeria and the country consumes about 7million tonnes of it annually. Despite Nigeria’s potential in producing sugar for local consumption, the country has been under the stranglehold of sugar importation for the confectionary and beverage industry.
“With reference to the diary sector, it is one of the drivers of American economy, according to 2018 report of the International Dairy Food Association; the diary industry supports nearly 3million workers, generates more than $39billion in direct wages and has an overall economic impact of more than $628billion. The Dairy sector where we are yet to tap its potentials has an extensive value chain and we must take full steps to fully harness the potentials of the sector,” she said.
While she commended the efforts of the Federal and State Governments towards finding a lasting solution through different programmes and initiatives to improve the productive capacity within the dairy sector; she stressed that much more needs to be done regarding the policy thrust of Central Bank Policy on milk importation.
NACCIMA also commended the collaborative efforts of DailyTrust and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) for successfully hosting the 3rd edition of the conference, which she said has grown to become an important forum for Nigeria’s Agriculture and its value chain; a useful platform that brings farmers, investors, financiers as well as SMEs together.
Sponsors of the event themed: “Repositioning Rice, Sugar and Dairy Production for Optimal Yield” include First Bank, Notore, Jaiz Bank, The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Lagos Business School, Fidelity Bank, Unity Bank, Nestle and Stanbic IBTC, among others.