Patrick Akinwuntan, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria Limited, says the bank is committed to support the development of the nation’s agric value chain, explore ways to unlock productivity, economic growth and food security potentials.
Akinwuntan spoke at the second edition of the Ecobank Agribusiness virtual Summit organised in association with Vanguard Economic Forum Series with the theme: “Digitizing the agricultural value chain for unlocking productivity, economic growth and food security,” noting that with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in full play, accelerated growth through technology adoption is required to harness the full benefits for our nation.
He stressed that Ecobank is committed to developing the agriculture space, providing employment for the youths, creating wealth for citizen and placing Nigeria as a global economic power house.
“At Ecobank, we remain strongly positioned as the partner of choice for a digital agricultural transformation, backed by an array of innovative lending and digital products, best-in-class payment/trade capabilities, strategic advisory services, an unrivaled pan African presence as well as key strategic partnerships.
“Our continued support for this sector was recently recognized as Ecobank was named the “Agric lender of the year” at the Banking and other financial institutions awards. With a dedicated agric desk manned by seasoned professionals, we remain focused on supporting the Agric sector on its journey to digitization.”
Continuing, Akinwuntan recalled that “in the last one year, Ecobank has organized many webinars to explore the opportunities across the agric value chain; harnessed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other funding opportunities such as The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL); partnered the African Union, for MSME training initiative through the MSME academy for capacity building.”
Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Aliyu Abdulhameed, spoke of the need to leverage technology for Nigeria to get the best out of agriculture.
According to him, “money can be available, human capital can be hired and equipment can be bought and hired, but technology must by adopted to drive production volumes as it is in other developed economics like Israel.”
Solutions, he stressed, “are choice support tools, yield enhancing production technologies, food processing technologies, integrated logistics and storage and payment solutions.”
Abdulhameed, therefore, urged small holder farmer to form corporate groups that will ease access to funding.
The 2nd edition of the Ecobank Agribusiness Summit organised in association with Vanguard Economic Forum Series had its primary content objective to discuss the role of technology and digitisation across the agricultural value chain.
Besides NIRSAL, Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) was strategic partner at the virtual summit, which paraded speakers and panelists like Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director-General, Partnership for Delivery, at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Dr. Emmanuel Ijewere, Vice President, NABG; Ndidi Nwuneli, Co-founder/Managing Partner, Sahel Partner; Akin Alabi, Co-founder, Corporate Farmers International; and Ayodeji Balogun, Country CEO, AFEX Commodities Exchange.