The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria Patrick Akinwuntan says the bank is committed to support the development of the agric value chain to further explore how to unlock productivity and economic growth and food security potentials for Nigeria. Mr. Akinwuntan who was speaking at the 2nd edition of the Ecobank Agribusiness virtual Summit with the theme: “Digitising the agricultural value chain for unlocking productivity, economic growth and food security” noted that with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in full play, accelerated growth through technology adoption is required to harness the full benefits for our nation, stressing that Ecobank is committed to developing the agriculture space, providing employment for our youths, creating wealth for our citizen and place Nigeria as a global economic power house.
“At Ecobank, we remain strongly positioned as the partner of choice for a digital agricultural transformation, backed by an array of innovative lending and digital products, best-in-class payment/trade capabilities, strategic advisory services, an unrivaled pan African presence as well as key strategic partnerships. Our continued support for this sector was recently recognised as Ecobank was named the “Agric lender of the year” at the Banking and other financial institutions awards. With a dedicated agric desk manned by seasoned professionals, we remain focused on supporting the Agric sector on its journey to digitisation. In the last one year, Ecobank has organised many webinars to explore the opportunities across the agric value chain; harnessed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other funding opportunities such as The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL); partnered the African Union, for MSME training initiative through the MSME academy for capacity building”, he stated.
In his contribution, Managing Director, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Aliyu Abdulhameed said technology must be leveraged for Nigeria to get the best out of agriculture. According to him, “Money can be available, human capital can be hired and equipment can be bought and hired but technology must by adopted to drive production volumes as it is in other developed economics like Israel.” “Solutions are choice support tools, yield enhancing production technologies, food processing technologies, integrated logistics and storage and payment solutions”. He stated. Further Mr. Abdulhameed, encouraged small holder farmer to form corporate groups that will make them have easy access to funding.
The 2nd edition of the Ecobank Agribusiness Summit organised in association with Vanguard Economic Forum Series had its primary content objective to discuss the role of technology and digitisation across the agricultural value chain. The virtual summit had strategic partners such as the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG). The speakers and panelists included Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director-General, Partnership for Delivery, at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Dr. Emmanuel Ijewere, Vice President, NABG; Ndidi Nwuneli, Co-founder/Managing Partner, Sahel Partner; Akin Alabi, Co-founder, Corporate Farmers International and Ayodeji Balogun, Country CEO, AFEX Commodities Exchange. This virtual conference is part of Ecobank’s Digital Series which is in line with the bank’s vision to consolidate a modern Pan-African market, contribute to the economic development and financial integration of the continent. The summit examined the potential impact of agriculture technology investment in fixing low productivity in Nigeria’s food production; evaluate existing traditional agriculture finance models in Nigeria and the role and impact of technology-enabled commodity exchange trading across the agriculture value chain amongst others.