For us to achieve agribusiness transformation with a view transformation from traditional agriculture to commercial agricultural enterprise, Africa must learn to adopt the seven pillars of agribusiness transformation as enumerated by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as follows;
- Pillar 1: increasing agriculture productively. An average farmer in China is 10 times better than a farmer in Nigeria. While in Africa, we produce an average of three tons per hectare, China or American farmers produce an average of 8 to 10 tons per hectare. So we must learn to produce more from less.
- Pillar 2: Upgrading Value Chains. We have defined value chain and agribusiness above. There is therefore the need to deepen our knowledge and practice of how agricultural value chain can be used to transform agriculture in Africa.
- Pillar 3: Exploiting local, regional, and international demand. We must think local and act global! There are over two million Nigerians living in UK, USA, and South Africa. What a market! We can take advantage of our local food and textiles to penetrate those markets.
- Pillar 4: Strengthening technological efforts and innovation capabilities. Technology and innovations are the best way to go. Despite the huge challenge that we have in Africa, we have to think technology. We are the highest producers of cassava, cocoa, cashew, shea butter, sesame, among others, in the world. So, we need to bring technology to the table to be commercially viable and relevant.
- Pillar 5: Promoting effective and innovative source of financing. Setting up modern commercial farm enterprise can never be achieved without promoting effective and innovative source of financing. Traditional commercial financing technique as adopted by our banks in Africa can never solve the problem. You have to use schemes like the group approach, warehouse receipt system, modified contract farming techniques, if we must commercialize.
- Pillar 6 & Pillar 7: Stimulating private sector participation and improving infrastructure and energy access. These are areas that government intervention is required for us to achieve incremental progress in starting-up of modern commercial agriculture enterprise in Nigeria.
Godfrey Ajayi Sunday
Group Managing Director
Gconsulting International Services Ltd