As we get ready to converge in Abuja for Sterling Bank’s Ag Summit, I want to share this perspective which I left in the comment area on LinkedIn. Agriculture in Nigeria is very challenging for farmers and investors. Unfortunately, things will NOT change overnight. Simply, until we make farmers businesspeople from just ancestral custodians of culture, nothing significant will happen in our agriculture. Most people do not farm to make profit – the gold standard of any venture; they farm because that is a way of life with making profit a secondary nexus.
Because of that, if you do the numbers, you will have no strong correlation between input and expected output. So, you see a man who has been farming for 10 years and yet is still poor. With blazing irony, a man in the community of farmers will expect government to send him food!
Nonetheless, he will continue to farm even though the “business” is not working. In other trades, the man could have moved from selling corn to pure water or something else. But in farming, the output does not drive the next year strategy.
That is the biggest challenge in Nigerian agriculture – inability to make farmers businesspeople. I work with many of them in our business – and I have seen things. Do not think anyone can reprogram culture overnight. It is tough! Your motive for profit is secondary – what matters to most is that the way of life is strong, irrespective of the mass poverty it is creating in the community!
I hope to continue this conversation during Sterling Bank’s Ag Summit Africa; I am one of the speakers. By 2030, everyone expects African agriculture to hit $1 trillion mark. It has to happen if opportunities must abound in the continent.
The Agriculture Summit Africa is one of the continent’s leading platforms dedicated to creating a convergence of private and public sector players, investors and agriculture practitioners across the entire value chain.This year’s conference is themed ‘Agriculture: Your Piece of the Trillion- Dollar Economy’. This theme was inspired by the World Bank’s projection that the agriculture sector will exceed 1 trillion dollars within a decade and will facilitate debate on key issues including access to capital by investors across the value chain, access to electricity, better technology and digitization methods and well irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods.The benefits of this are enormous as the growth of the sector will help increase exports and income levels, create employment, reduce poverty, boost growth rates, and promote food self-sufficiency across the continent while concurrently safeguarding the environment.The Summit will take place under the distinguished Chairmanship of His Royal Majesty, Emir Sanusi Lamido, the Emir of Kano State, with His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria delivering the keynote address.