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Adequate finance, technological application key to agriculture revolution in Nigeria —AFEX

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Africa Director, AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited, Mr Ayodeji Balogun (second left) and other participants at a one-day workhop organised by the company in Lagos recently.

AFRICA Director, Afex Commodities Exchange Limited, Mr Ayodeji Balogun, has posited that easy access to finance by farmers and the application of technology are the ways to go in order to have revolutionised agriculture in Nigeria.

He stated this at a one-day workshop themed: “CodeCashCrop” organised by Afex Commodities Exchange Limited in collaboration with Dalberg Global Development Advisors, AgroNigeria, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, and INTL FCStone in Lagos.

“I think this initiative is going to be one of a series. We are excited about the brands that showed up here, to deliberate on the opportunities that will evolve when these three segments of the market that before now worked individually, come together to co-create and co-think around the problem within the space, but more importantly around the solutions, and how everybody can fashion out a way of bringing business opportunities,” Balogun said.

He noted that the company had been registered as an exchange in Nigeria which had been creating linkages between the agricultural ecosystem and the financial ecosystem in the last four years.

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He stated that the organisation had been able to organise rural farmers into bankable groups, provide finance for farmers and construct storage facilities as well as invested in technology through the provision of a trading platform for farmers to sell off their goods at reasonable prices.

“We invested heavily in technology, and we have a trading platform running live now where traders, and buyers and financiers can connect remotely wherever they are, within or outside the country and then transact. Technology is a strong enabler to bring marriage between finance and agriculture to fruition,” the AFEX Country Manager added.

Afex, has created an asset class for investors to enable them invest in agriculture as well as reaching more smallholder farmers, improving their livelihoods and sustaining their production.

However, the non-application of technology in agriculture in Nigeria has been a major hurdle in the sector and if properly harnessed, technology could help create wealth across all value chains in the sector.

In her submission, a Senior Consultant at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, Ayomide Akindolie, noted that the workshop was aimed at bringing practitioners in technology, finance and agriculture for effective collaboration in order to boost agricultural production.

She stated that the organisation had been working in Nigeria and other countries in Africa and the world on issues relating to development and agriculture.

She added that the organisation had been providing strategic advisory services on development and agriculture in countries where it was operational.

On her part, a Partner at Choiseul Africa, Adeline Fabre noted that agriculture was the next big thing in Nigeria and Africa, not because of fall in oil prices but because of the potentials in the sector.

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