Why Agribusiness holds the key to unlocking Nigeria’s economy

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Mr Kelikume Ikechukwu, Programme Director, Lagos Business School, says  Agribusiness  and not agriculture was the key to unlocking  Nigerian economy.

Ikechukwu described agriculture as activities such as crop production, fishery, forestry and animal husbandry.

He, however, said that agribusiness encompassed  land, people, packaging, processing, transportation and the export of produce which goes beyond just farming.

“For instance, an agribusiness practitioner will take maize and extract ethanol and raw starch from it to produce industrial starch needed by textile industries.

“The industrial starch is produced outside Nigeria but the raw starch that is  used in producing  industrial starch comes form Nigeria,” he said.

The director added that if agriculture  were truly  the key to unlocking the economy,  then Cote d’Ivoire, the richest country in cocoa production, would have ranked the  biggest in the cocoa value chain.

“Switzerland, however, is the biggest in the cocoa value chain but it  does  not produce cocoa that is why agribusiness is the key to unlocking the Nigerian economy.

“If we begin to expand it, you will see how big the agribusiness space is compared to agriculture that is why it holds the key and not agriculture.”

Ikechukwu urged youths to take advantage of the several opportunities that abound in the agricultural space in order to meet  increasing demand for food by  a growing population of 200 million people.

“Our population is currently slightly above 200 million people and there is a problem with the age distribution because 43 per cent of our population lies between the age grade zero to 14 years.

“This means that we have over 90 million children that must be fed so we need more youths that will go into agriculture in order to meet the increasing demand for food,” he said.