The Managing Director, AgroNigeria, Mr Richard-Mark Mbaram, said Nigeria’s economic revitalisation in the post-COVID-19 era would be hinged on an improved food system.
Mbaram made the remark at a virtual news conference to kick-start activities for the Feed Nigeria Summit (FNS), 2021, on Friday in Lagos.
The organiser for the FNS 2021 include; AfDB, AFEX, United Kingdom Department for International Trade, IFAD and among others.
The FNS 2021 with the theme: “Post COVID-19: A Repaired Food System; Pathway to a Revived Economy,” will take place in Abuja on Aug. 23 and 24.
Mbaram said the country’s damaged food system needed to be repaired urgently for the economy to be transformed and revitalised.
He said the summit expected to bring private, public and developing partners/communities together would create a pathway for agricultural and economic rejuvenation.
He added that it would trigger the realisation of government policies and interventions.
Mbaram explained that focus would be placed on the Special Agro-Proceasing Zones (SAPZ) and the inherent potential to impact the country’s economy through the inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
He said the current momentum on the SAPZ, supported by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), International Funds for Agriculture Development and the Islamic Development Bank would further transform market viability of Nigeria’s agriculture investments.
“The SAPZ has moved up from the normal norm of agricultural projects not seeing the light of day.
”I am happy to state that series of activities have taken place from January till now that will culminate the recourse of the AfDB by October, following which, there will be a drop-down for the project to commence by November.
“Thess timelines cannot change anymore following the progress made by the SAPZ. This project is the main vehicle carrying other activities of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Some of the main focus would be the Federal Government’s mechanisation programme (that is the green imperative); the extension programme and research and development.
”The key components to making agricultural and economic transformation a reality, is making modern technologies available and supporting investment in agricultural Research and Development (R&D),” he said.
Mbaram said without research Nigeria would not make the expected progress in advancing the economic prospects and enhancement of farmers productivity and livelihoods.
Speaking on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Mbaram described the country’s local market as profound, noting that exporting to Europe and other countries might not be beneficial.
He said the AfCFTA was a significant and remarkable transformational result on the part of African leaders to create a free market ecosystem for foods and services to move within the continent.
According to him, it is easier to do business with other African countries than with the far eastern markets.