Managing Director/Chief Executive, Heritage Bank Limited, Mr. Ifie Sekibo has called for innovation in the agricultural sector in order to maximise the sector’s contributions to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Sekibo made this call while speaking to a group of investors stressing that innovation is necessary to tackle the challenges to productivity in the agricultural sector.
Speaking on the challenges and potentials of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, he said: “Statistically, we are about 198 million people as nation though we believe we are about 210 million, GDP growth 1.5 percent, before recession, we are doing about 6 percent and we are at 11.28 percent inflation but still hoping it comes down. Agriculture is 22.86 percent, Industry 23.18percent and services at 53.97 percent. Essentially, we will say our economy is driven by services.
“Nigeria has a very large market, plenty labour force, plenty of waterways because almost every part of Nigeria has waterways and enough land to feed ourselves and nearly half the world because we truly have a land fertile for Agriculture and we have only utilized 40 percent of which we waste about 70 percent of the lands.
“For rice, Nigeria should be producing about 6.3 metric tonnes and one begin to wonder why we are poor as a nation if we have such opportunities. Instead we are doing about 2.3 metric tonnes and you can see the gap of about 4 million metric tonnes that we could have produced but we are importing.
“That is a negative for our economy. A lot of other gaps in the Agricultural sector shows that indeed we have a lot of room for investments. You will realize that every state of this federation and every Geo-political zones has a lot to offer, the North-West, North-East is a hub for agriculture only if we do the right thing and maximize the opportunities.
The South, we can spoon the world in the South only if we maximize the opportunities that abound in the zone.
“So why are we not making progress as a nation especially in the areas of Agriculture? They are due to some few challenges which include our import supplies, production, processing and basically trade which are components of Agriculture.
“The vulnerability shocks we have out there can be dealt with if we put in place innovations platform, strategies and the likely outcomes. These are essentially what we need to do. If we can achieve some of these innovations in Agriculture, we will turn our country around.
We need to look at the issue of climate change; we need to look at why we have been unable to create inventions and innovations that make our work in the Agricultural space.”
Diamond bank partners Facebook to support young entrepreneurs
Diamond bank Plc in collaboration with Facebook and Affrinolly is set to project Nigeria’s young entrepreneurs to the digital world.
Addressing journalists, Area Manager, Ikeja branch of Diamond Bank Plz, Chigozie Onyecha, said that, Diamond bank believes in small and medium enterprises.
He said that it was the reason, the bank in partnership with the named firms is embarking on digital marketing training for entrepreneurs particularly in the entertainment industry.
According to him, the aim is to help individuals with feasible and viable initiatives to reach out to the global space by providing an online platform for networking, financial aid, advisory, business clinics workshop and technical know-how.
“We are poised to boost talents in young people provided their initiatives are bankable” he stated.
Speaking for Facebook, the creator trainer, Ewonro Amune, for Afrinolly, said facebook America and its partners are working to help small and medium entrepreneurs to do their businesses online.
According to him “we want them to leverage on the social media tools to boost and enhance their performance, build community and make profit”
Ewonro further stressed that facebook is offering business owners knowledge by showing them ways businesses ought to be done in the 21st century, adding that, it’s like showing people how to fish instead of giving them fish.
“It’s up to creators to harness their potential by keying into the Data world because Data is the new oil to explore the world and any entrepreneur who is not in the Data world is playing. So Facebook is offering a lot of incentives for Nigerians, all they need is to show themselves approved” he added.
Meanwhile the Executive Director, Legal & external networks, for Afrinolly, Jane Maduegbuna, said Afrinolly with its partners are helping young people to identify and position their brand identity, saying that the training is geared to make entrepreneurs monetize their products.
“we want to bring at least 300 viable ideas to the fore and we expect them to explore the digital world to market their businesses.
FirstBank restates commitment to SMEs, Agric sector growth
By NAN (Oluwafunke Ishola)
First Bank of Nigeria Limited has expressed its commitment to the growth of the agricultural value chain and creating opportunities for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive in the country.
Its Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Mrs Folake Ani-Mumuney, made the assertion at the fourth edition of Fiesta of Flavours in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Fiesta of Flavours is a food and beverage fair that provides an avenue for participants to fully experience the entertainment, art and business of food.
The fair organised by FirstBank in collaboration with the Eventful Ltd, connects SMEs with prospective customers toward boosting sales, exposure and business growth.
Ani-Mumuney said that the financial institution was committed to helping SMEs in the food sector to grow and develop, while promoting economic diversification.
According to her, SMEs are critical to the development of the nation’s economy and should be supported by all stakeholders in the overall national interest.
Also, Mrs Yewande Zaccheus, the Chief Executive Officer, Eventful Ltd., said that the initiative had created a platform that converges SMEs and customers in a relaxed atmosphere while promoting business activities.
Zaccheus said that many SMEs, especially those in the online space has leveraged on the opportunity of the fair to create awareness about their products, forge more partnerships and client base.
She said that many businesses that were showcased had grown through the platform and impacting positively on the economy.
Commenting, Mr Olisa Adibua, the Managing Director, Perception Media, said that the fair had assisted in showcasing the best in local and international cuisine, not just to Nigerians, but the international community.
Chef Tiyan Alile, the Founder, Culinary Academy and Culinary Consultant for Fiesta of Flavours, said that the fair provided a platform for vendors and customers to connect and also serves as a family day out.
“The hospitality industry is growing so much that people need offtakers.
“Contacts are exchanged at the fair and symbiotic relationship that leverages on various expertise from farm, packaging and culinary development are made,” Alile said.
She said that many jobs had been created with the fair through various trainings, seminars and competitions that empowers SME operators and visitors at the fair.
Commenting, Mrs Arinola Shobande, Head, Corporate Communications, Enyo Retail and Supply Ltd., said that the company was at the fair to enlighten consumers about standards of gas cylinders and also supply them with gas.
Also, Mrs Omolola Ezeifeoma, the Managing Director, Creative Foods Concept, commended the bank for the platform, saying that the fair helped her network to create awareness about her business activities. (NAN)
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