FIRSTANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE NIGERIA AGRIBUSINESS GROUP (NABG ASSOCIATES UNLIMITED)
Venue: Muson Centre Onikan-Lagos, Function Room
Theme: Setting policy direction, strengthening agriculture and agribusiness associations, engaging strategic partners and donors
- Chairman, NABG – Alh. Sani Dangote
- Coordinator, NABG – Chief Emmanuel Ijewere
- The Executive Leadership Group Members of NABG
- Commissioners of Agriculture and Rural Development
- Lagos State Government Officials
- Development Partners
- Directors FMARD.
- Agricultural Donor Working Group
- Money Deposit Banks
- Central Bank of Nigeria
- Members of the Press
- Ladies and Gentlemen
CONGRATULATIONS TO NABG
First, let me congratulate the leadership of NABG, Chairman Alh. Sani Dangote, and his highly esteemed colleague Chief Emmanuel Ijewere for taking the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) and its Executive Leadership Group into new heights over such a short period of time.
Let me also thank the Executive Leadership Group of NABG, the founding members of this Association for the support each of you have given to the chairman Dangote and Coordinator Ijewere. Without your unprecedented support, the NABG could not have achieved so much within the past two years.
Let me also thank the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in absentia, for his visionary leadership in enabling the birthNABG, the first of its kind in Nigeria, and perhaps in Africa.
SOME PERSPECTIVES ON NABG
The NABG is a high powered organized private sector group comprised of all value chain stakeholders, from farmer associations and farmer cooperatives to input suppliers to aggregators, food processors, logistics, packaging, market research and consumers insights, media and communications, money deposit banks (Commercial Banks), Central Bank of Nigeria, insurance and micro-finance companies, etc.
The NABG is helping government to ensure that Nigeria regains its past glory in agricultural production and productivity and in export trade of agricultural fresh produce. NABG is helping us to set policy direction for the ongoing reforms of the agriculture sector.
The NABG is continuing to work closely with the government to improve further the business environment for agriculture.
The NABG represent the faces and voices of Nigeria’s agriculture and agribusiness community. Working together with NABG, we are strengthening ties across Africa and Europe.
Our journey with NABG started almost three years ago at the First Nigeria’s Eminent Persons Group (EPG) Meeting in Geneva Switzerland (held January 2013), followed by the Second Nigeria’s EPG meeting in New York in September of the same year. You may recall that the EPG provided high level advisory services on Nigeria’s agriculture transformation and challenged the private sector to not only turn investment commitments into real investments, but to also create an organized private sector platform that will advocate for good reforms in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
Present at the first meeting of the EPG in Geneva was Chief Ijewere. Present at the second meeting of the EPG was Alhaji Sani Dangote. It is therefore not surprising that these two individuals were selected by the former Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina (CON), to lead the affairs of the organized private sector group which we know as the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG Associates Unlimited).
The EPG included Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft Corporation and Co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Dr. Kanayo Nwanze (President of IFAD), a Nigerian, Kofi Annan (former Secretary General of the United Nations), a Ghanaian, Dr. Donald Kaberuka (former President of African Development Bank), a Rwandan and Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, now President of African Development Bank, a Nigerian.
ENGAGING PRIVATE SECTOR AGRIBUSINESS INVESTORS
The agricultural landscape in Nigeria has been transformed and well positioned to diversify the economy away from oil and gas towards agricultural industrialization. At the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, we are treating agriculture as a business by attracting private sector investors to invest in Nigeria’s agricultural economy.
About60-70% of the investment commitments made by the private sector in the past four years have come from domestic investors. International investors make up the difference.
Our strategic partnership is gaining recognition across Africa, as we position Nigeria to lead Africa’s agricultural transformation. Together with NABG, we launched the Kenya-Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Forum in September 2014 to facilitate trade and investments between both countries, a first of its’ kind between East Africa and West Africa.
Together with NABG, we launched the Micro Reforms for Africa Agribusiness (MIRA) just about a month ago in Abuja. This program once again is in partnership with The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a development partner based in Nairobi, Kenya.
As we prepare for the next 4 years, we are confident that the Agribusiness and Investment Division of FMARD will work even more closely with NABG to attract new investments and to ensure that investment commitments are turned into real investments to help create jobs and lift millions of farmers out of poverty.
Thanks to the funding and technical assistance support from BMGF and UNDP, the Agribusiness and Investment Division of FMARD is working.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure and joy that I stand here before you to declare the support of FMARD and our Development Partners to the vision, mission, goals and aspirations of NABG (NABG Associates Unlimited).
PERSPECTIVES ON NABG’S FUTURE ROLE
The NABG has experienced a rapid growth with determination and commitment, evident by a series of events and achievements in just two years of its launch in Abuja in May 2013.
Your recognition that smallholder farmers are the largest private sector group in Nigeria has helped to foster economic growth in rural Nigeria as you provide guaranteed off-take markets for millions of smallholder farmers across the country.
Sixteen of you have committed to invest in agriculture and agribusiness across 22 States of Nigeria a total $1.8 billion (~ NGN 360 billion). Turning these commitments into real investments will undoubtedly help to create jobs for our teeming youth population and women and help to lift millions of farmers out of poverty.
On this ground, we are together inaugurating the Agribusiness Investment Inter-Ministerial (AIM) Working Group today as a show of our commitment in delivery on our promise to facilitate your investments from early stage and throughout the investment lifecycle.
The AIM Working Group, our Project Delivery Team will help to facilitate your investments and help to turn your commitments into real investments.
ENGAGING OUR DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS
Let me once again thank UNDP-BMGF for their technical assistance support to the AIM Working Group.
Let me also thank IFAD, USAID and others for your continued partnership in transforming Nigeria’s agricultural landscape.
Together with NABG, we are better positioned for inclusive growth where small, medium and large farmer groups will co-exist to generate wealth for millions of Nigeria and the unemployed youths and women.
Let me in particular thank USAID for the technical assistance support that you have provided to FMARD in facilitating private sector agribusiness investments in Nigeria. Under the leadership of USAID and DFID, Nigeria became a member country of the G7 Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in June 2013.
With the funding support of USAID and UNDP-BMGF, we have commissioned fourseparate studies on private sector investment facilitation. I understand the reports of these studies will be made available to all participants today.
Working with NABG, we will ensure that there will be no lack of information dissemination going forward.
The engine of growth of any economy is the private sector. Unfortunately, for decades agriculture was treated as a development program, with dominance of government, in many cases crowding out the private sector. We have ended the dominance of government and I am optimistic that the private sector will lead Nigeria in restoring its past glory in agriculture.
I am confident that the NABG will continue to play an important role in the new administration of H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
I am confident that the group will continue to attract viable local and foreign direct investments into agriculture and agribusiness together with our Development Partners and other MDAs.
In 2013, we commissioned a study survey of 75 leading agribusinesses in Nigeria, which showed that serious challengeswere faced by agribusiness investors in Nigeria. The results, including the following, by percentage of respondents were as follows:
1. Infrastructure (72%)
2. Financing (56%)
3. Supply security (55%)
4. Government regulations, tax and policies (53%)
Other constraints included human capital (45%), security (39%), land (24%) and government coordination (19%).
We are working head-on to eliminate these constraints at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Time does not permit me to elaborate, but permit me to say that the top 4 constraints are being addressed head-on. For example,through the development of the Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZs) and Agribusiness Investment Regions (ABIR), we are addressing the issue of infrastructure and security of supplies constraints;
We are leveraging Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) and Nigerian Incentive Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and Funds for Agricultural Financing in Nigeria (FAFIN) for financing;
We are leveraging the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) and Agribusiness Investment Regions (ABIR) to ensure security of supply of raw materials.
The Nigerian Agribusiness Group can help in these areas, by articulating the position of private sector agribusinesses on matters relating to policies, legal and regulatory environments.
ENDORSEMENT OF NABG BY FMARD
The First Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group is indeed a timely event. This group is much needed to help move forward the agenda on agribusiness development in Nigeria in partnership with the new administration.
The NABG is set to represent the interest of the value chains from farmer associations to farm inputs to aggregation, storage and handling to food processors.
The group is also set to help with further leveraging of investments into the agricultural value chains.
It is indeed my great pleasure to formally endorse the NABG Associates as the unified voice of agriculture in Nigeria.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Chairman and distinguished guests, let me once again thank you for the invitation to witness and participate in the inaugural Annual General Meeting of NABG. We could not have asked for better partners.
There is no doubt in my mind that together we will make Nigerian agriculture great again. Together, we will make Nigeria an agriculturally industrialized nation.
For out of Nigeria shall arise a global power house in food and agriculture, says Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.
Thank you all and God bless.