President of the Nigerian-Belgium Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), Timi Austen-Peters, has said that the potential in the agriculture sector can bail the country out of the perennial foreign exchange (FOREX) crisis if the value chains are developed to enhance its export value.
Austen-Peters stated this at a webinar hosted by the chamber and Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria (AFGEAN) on Friday. Participants at the event tagged ‘Closing the Gap Between Farmers and Buyers and Create Access to Financial Support’ deliberated on related challenges and explored possible solutions.
The Chamber President said agricultural development is important for addressing the food security challenge and positioning the economy for sustainable growth and that the sector has a huge “commercial value.”
Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku, pointed out that Nigeria, being among the 10 top countries in the world with arable land, can feed the world. She said the country’s natural resource endowment is a huge attraction to investors who she said are increasingly finding it easier to do business in the market.
“Agriculture incentives are enormous. Nigeria has moved up drastically on the ease of doing the business assessment. We are not where we should be but what we have today has shown a remarkable improvement considering where we were some years ago,” Sadiku noted.
According to AFGEAN President, Tajudeen Dantata, it is no longer sustainable to continue to depend on hydrocarbon for sustenance and foreign exchange earnings.
He urged the government to give prior attention to the development of the agriculture value chain to position the sector as an alternative to oil and gas in the country.