The Chairman, Board of Directors, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Asue Ighodalo, at the 4th Agriculture Summit Africa (ASA) 2021 organised by Sterling Bank on Wednesday in Lagos. Themed: “Building the New Agro Order.”
In this meeting the Sterling Bank boss said it is unacceptable and an ironic paradox to lack, have raw materials shortages and have food insecurity in the midst of so much fertile and arable lands across Africa.
Nigeria’s agricultural sector grew by 1.3% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2021, a decrease compared to 1.58% recorded in the same period of 2020,
Mr Ighodalo said, “In the last three years, our bank has paid attention to and concentrated resources on the health, agriculture, renewable energy, education and transportation sectors. These when put together represents the heart of Sterling, and right in the middle of our strategy is the agriculture sector to us.”
“With millions at risk of being deprived of their means of livelihoods occasioning major concerns around food security, with an estimated population of over 200 million growing at an annual rate of three per cent, regardless of recent interventions, agricultural productivity in Nigeria growing at about 1.3 % is insufficient to meet our food and raw materials demand,” he said.
He warned that Nigeria’s agriculture deficit continues to widen despite government interventions, irrespective of a wide range of opportunities, citing low yields per hectare due to shortages in quality of inputs, changes in climate, among others.
He revealed that the bank is committed to changing the narrative in the agriculture sector, and catalysing revenue growth, warning that the developed world is in the middle of the 4th industrial revolution and Africa is still way behind.
Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Saro Africa, Mr Rasheed Sarumi said Nigeria is faced with numerous challenges, one of which is dollar liquidity arising from a big import bill, of which agriculture can actually come to the rescue.
He added that innovation can solve problems and would attract smart capital, address consumer pains, propel growth of agriculture in Africa, more than we have had over the last several years.