Agriculture the New Frontier: Access to Information on Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector
Workshop
29 March 2012

Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) in conjunction with The Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperatives, and Skills Enhancement Centre (SENCE) hosted a two-day agribusiness exhibition on the 29th and 30th of March 2012, titled ‚ÄúAgriculture the New Frontier: Access to Information on Nigeria‚Äôs Agricultural Sector‚ÄĚ in Lagos.

The EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2010 survey revealed that 20.3 million adults derived their main income from agriculture; however only 1.9 million of them were banked. Of the remaining 18.4 million adults that were unbanked, 6.0 million of them owned a mobile phone. This demonstrates the potential for increasing access to finance to workers in the agricultural sector, especially through technology.

The key objective of the exhibition was to create a one stop shop information centre on the Nigerian agriculture sector and provide ideas on how to position the agricultural sector to be at the centre of the government’s efforts to spur economic development in Nigeria.

Speaking at the exhibition, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, Chairman, EFInA stated that, ‚ÄúEFInA decided to partner with SENCE on this exhibition, because evidence worldwide shows that access to financial services contributes both to economic growth and to a reduction in inequality, which is key to tackling the ‚Äėpoverty‚Äô trap in Nigeria. EFInA‚Äôs primary mandate is promoting financial inclusion and so improving access to finance for the agriculture sector will help to ensure that we achieve our mandate and alleviate this poverty trap.‚ÄĚ

The keynote address which was themed, ‚ÄúEmerging Opportunities in Agriculture in Lagos State‚ÄĚ, was given by Prince Gbolahan Lawal, the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture & Cooperatives, Lagos State. Prince Lawal stated that, ‚ÄúThe government through the Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperatives is seeking to increase investment in agriculture to improve domestic agricultural productivity and output, whilst at the same time making food affordable for its residents. The primary goal of addressing the food security challenges of the State is to raise agricultural productivity and increase its economic contribution to the State with an emphasis on job and wealth creation‚ÄĚ.

The two day exhibition had speakers from the Central Bank of Nigeria, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Songhai Project and DHL, amongst others. In addition, there was a cross section of over 40 organisations (including farmers and banks) from all segments of the agricultural value chain that exhibited at the event.