4000 participants for Africa Agriculture Summit

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No fewer than 4000 farming stakeholders would converge in Abuja next week for the two-day Sterling Bank Africa Agriculture  Summit.

The bank’s head of Agriculture and Export, Bukola Awosanya, told a news conference in Lagos that the summit would discuss the future of agriculture, precision farming, smart farming and technology to drive agriculture.

Awosanya said that the summit, themed, “Agriculture: Your Piece of the One Trillion Naira Economy,” would discuss ways to address food security in Africa.

This year, we are stepping up our game; last year, the summit was impactful and policy driven, and this year, we are going into Africa, not just Nigeria.

“We are the first commercial bank to do the Anchor Borrowers Scheme and various many other schemes which has earned us awards as the best bank in commercial agriculture.

“Seeing this, we have taken agriculture as very important to the economy,” she said.

Awosanya said the summit would feature small holders, input suppliers, mechanisation, processors and other various actors within the sector.

“From the small holders to the input suppliers and the mechanisation, processors and other various actors within the sector, the agricultural summit will address food security in Africa.

Sterling Bank has identified agriculture as it’s priority sector and is committed to bring key stakeholders, investors and key players to discuss these issues, analise strength and look at the way forward.

“In this gathering, we are going to be bring a lot of them together to see how do we position agriculture in Africa like it is in European countries,” she said.

Also speaking, Mr Yemi Odubiyi, Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking of the bank, said the summit would also address job creation for young people in agriculture.

We all know agriculture’s capacity to create jobs and we believe that by supporting the agriculture initiative of the current administration, we will be contributing a great deal to solving unemployment in Nigeria.

“We have over the past nine years developed into the leading agriculture finance business in Nigeria.

“To date, about 10 per cent of our loans are in agriculture and that preceeded the government coming up with policies in this regard,” he said.

Oduniyi said food security was a major challenge in the country at present, hence the priority given to the sector by the bank.

This is the focus of the government of the day in the country, I think it a focused that has been well chosen, we will not be able to stabilise this country in any form until we address food security issues,” he said.