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Agriculture summit Africa starts Thursday


[FILE] Sterling Bank

As a result of the successes recorded in its maiden Agric summit held last year, Sterling Bank has assembled technocrats and other stakeholder in the sector for the second edition, scheduled for Thursday, September 5 and 6, 2019, in Abuja.
 Through the Agriculture Summit Africa, the bank will be bringing together policy makers, development agencies, international financial institutions, and value chain players on the continent.
 At a press conference held in Lagos, Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking, Yemi Odubiyi said the international summit with the theme:

“Agriculture – Your Piece of The $1tr Economy,” seeks the actualisation of the $1trillion African agribusiness economy dream of the World Bank by 2030.
 He assured that through the summit, the bank in collaboration with other stakeholders would reposition Nigeria through agriculture to achieve food security.

“Food insecurity is a major threat in Nigeria. We will not be able to stabilise this country until we solve the issue of food security, which we are at the forefront. We are trying to address issue of food security and job creation in the country. We believe that supporting the initiative of the current administration, we will be able to solve challenges of food security.

“About 10 per cent of our loans are on agriculture, because the sector is a very important area to us. We are working with other stakeholders for us to achieve the $1tr target of the World Bank, by bringing back the good old days of agriculture boom, where cocoa and other cash crops were faring well in the country,” he said.
 Odubiyi said during the summit, the bank will launch the “Digital Stakeholders Platform,” meant to address wastages, post-harvest losses and other areas to boost the sector.

The executive director said the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA) has also opened a new frontier for investors to tap into the agricultural potential of the continent, as countries within the continent would be able to export food products among themselves.

While recalling the olden days when agriculture was the pride of the economy with the establishment of research centres like the Cocoa Research Institute, among others, Odubiyi said the bank will continue to help build farming businesses that would help to sustain food security in the country.
 The Group Head, Agric Finance and Solid Minerals of the bank, Bukola Awosanya, who disclosed that agric has been one of the bank’s focal areas, said the summit covers the entire African continent, compared to last year, which was limited to Nigeria.

She explained that the 2018 summit brought together smallholder farmers, input suppliers, agro-processing entrepreneurs, development finance agencies, policy makers and captains of industry in Abuja.

“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,” she said. She added that it should surprise no one the bank and its partners are leading the charge to address the issues facing agribusiness on the continent.


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Agric summitYemi Odubiyi
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