Nigeria and other African countries cannot continue to depend on farmers in Europe and Asia to feed our populace as 60 per cent of Africa’s populace is in agriculture, this is according to Ndidi Nwuneli.
Nwuneli, co-founder of AACE Foods told CNBC Africa that there were tremendous opportunities that exist in the agriculture value chain from production, processing, packaging and logistics.
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According to Nwuneli, the first intervention when organisations want to improve agriculture in the continent is to build trust with the farmers and ensure they know you have their best interest at heart.
Commenting on Nigeria, Nwuneli added agriculture is very fragmented in Nigeria and to raise the level of production her organisation has partnered with UNDP among others.
“Currently we are working with a cluster of farmers across the country and the number is currently over 800 farmers with an intent of increasing this to 5,000 by 2018,” said Nwuneli.
“The vast majority of food that is consumed in Nigeria and across Africa is imported and sadly we do not have a strong agro-based and manufacturing base in the continent.”
The previous administration has managed to reduce Nigeria’s food imports bill from 1.3 trillion naira in 2009 to approximately 645 billion naira presently.
“The giant strides made in the agricultural sector must now be retained by the new administration to make sure the country build on this base for future growth,” said Nwuneli.
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According to the United Nations over 70 per cent of Africans depend on agriculture for their livelihoods
The multilateral body adds that agriculture has the capacity to combat poverty 11 times more than other sectors.
Nwuneli said when there are clusters of fragmented farmers all over the country, it is very expensive logistically to reach them and this is worsened by the fact that they are not financially literate making it difficult to pay them.