First Bank Agric Expo 2018: Nigeria is the only country with interest rates above 5% for farmers, Chief Audu Ogbeh

. . . in the mission to improve food sufficiency in Nigeria – Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Audu Ogbeh and others – at the First Bank Agric Expo 2018 (2nd Edition).

Now, isn’t this refreshingly promising!

First Bank Nigeria Limited, one of the leading financial institutions in Nigeria, held the second edition of her annual ‘Agric Expo’, being part of her definite support for agricultural development in the nation.

Yes, ‘definite’ is not at all a word superfluous in this occasion!

For this being her second edition of the said forum clearly implies that she’s out by all means to make it work! Bravo, First Bank, bravo, we all say!

This year’s edition of the conference was memorably held at Eko Hotels, Lagos State, Nigeria, on Thursday 28th, June. It was themed, ‘Innovating For A Sustainable Green Economy’, eruditely described as indeed a farseeing one, by the Special Guest of Honour, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh.

The event brought together stakeholders in the Agric sector who longed for ways of boosting the value chain in the sector and enhancing the finance model for what is noted as a viable industry.

The MD/CEO First Bank, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, who gave the opening remarks at the event, described Agriculture as the sector that ‘holds sway in the mission to eliminate poverty in Nigeria’.

Dr Adesola Adeduntan buttressed that it was time in Nigeria to observe an Agro-industrial Renaissance Programme, making use of the diverse agro-systems and value chain. This, he noted, requires strategic participation of stakeholders on the way forward, hence the maiden edition of First Bank Agro Expo in Nigeria last year.

He further informed that his bank was building strong alliance with the agro services sector, manifest in the ‘Expo’, and remained positive about the prospects of the sector which has been shown by the bank in its Agric schemes.

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The Special Guest of Honour, Chief Audu Ogbeh, described candidly the Agro sector as a crucial one with the recent NBS (National Bureau of Statistics) Q4, 2016 GDP growth rate of about 4% and a 24% contribution to the economy.

The Honourable Minister for Agriculture denounced passionately the interminable importation of foodstuffs into the country, which he indicated as a major threat to achieving self-sufficiency in food production. According to him, ‘if we cannot grow food and feed ourselves, we don’t exist as a Nation’.

He stated that the somewhat ill policy of uncheck and unproductivity over the decades plays a major factor in stalling agricultural revolution in the country. He briefed on strategies his ministry is ardently considering, some of which includes the re-launching of Cocoa, Coconut-oil production, commercial production of Shea-Butter, and the producing/exporting of Cashew.

Talking about financing, Chief Ogbeh conscientiously expressed his despair about the interest rate level for farmers in Nigeria which stands above 18%, emphasizing that ‘Nigeria was the only country with an interest rate for farmers above 5%’. He advised First Bank to pioneer effort towards improving access to credit to farmers at a favourable interest rate regime…

Now, isn’t that promising! Isn’t that refreshingly vitalizing as a fresh breath of hope!

Clearly, personalities are at work here, candidly contemplating on how to do, and accurately, the work that must be done, using the privileges mantled on them to contribute, for the better welfare and wellbeing of the nation!

This is what Nigeria longs for. A society where there is no more stalling, nor somnolence, nor apathy, but a people stirred by civic necessity and responsibility, using the chance given to make things work while they breathe. And yes- they have chosen to breathe meaning. No greater legacy.

The 3-part event was held simultaneously with the Conference and Trade Exhibition while 2 Masterclasses were held immediately after the conference.

Some of the exhibitors are available at this link.

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