Agribusiness Institute condemns Nigeria’s $22bn annual food import bill


… Inducts new members into its fold

The Institute of Agribusiness Management Nigeria (IAMN) has condemned the $22 billion Nigeria is spending annually on the importation of food that ordinarily can be produced locally by agribusiness entrepreneurs in the country.

Speaking at the induction ceremony and inauguration of Lagos state chapter of the Institute, the President of IAMN, Prof. Andie Brisibe who was represented by the Managing Director of Bic Farms Concepts bemoaned the huge of money Nigeria is spending on food importation and enriching other countries.

He added: “How can we spend over $22 billion to import food into Nigeria? Imagine if Nigerian agripreneurs are the one producing this food, the money will spread and everyone will be better for it. By importing food commodities, we are enriching other countries and improving the livelihoods of their farmers at the expense of our own.

“So IAMN is championing this course in the area of improving technical know-how of our members in areas of capacity development in areas of commercial crop and livestock production, Agro processing and Agribusiness trade”.

However, he called for collaboration among the stakeholders in the various agribusiness value chains in developing the sector, saying agribusiness is capable of fully diversifying the nation’s economy and providing jobs for the unemployed Nigerians.

Speaking further, he said one of the challenges facing the agricultural industry is that everybody just come into the industry claiming to be an agricultural consultant without proper standardization and certification adding that lots of Nigerians are losing investment funds to this quack agricultural consultants.

“The institute is there to standardize the activities of agribusiness professionals in Nigeria. Nobody should just come and say I’m an agricultural consultant.

“The question will be who certified you? Who knows what you can do? Who can recommend you? Where is your certification seals and practice license? Quality control measures such as these are what IAMN has been putting in place to sanitize agribusiness practice and improving service delivery.

“Secondly, there are all sorts of policies from the government but they are not followed through. We would do this today, tomorrow another thing. Government comes, government goes, we don’t have consistency. The institute is there to make sure that these policies stand”.

According to him, the institute will also protect the interest of everyone practicing agricultural business in the country.

In his remark, the Registrar/ Chief Executive Officer of the IAMN, Mr. Ayodele Olorunfemi pointed out a lot about what Nigeria can learn from the Dutch Food Production system.

According to him, “Netherlands is a small country that has refused to be deterred by its small size. The country with just the size of Kaduna State is the second largest exporter of food products in the world after the United States. The country has been able to achieve this due to innovative food production systems and effective management of the agribusiness management processes in the country”.

He said IAMN is poised to inspire the agribusiness community in Nigeria towards innovation and effective management of value chain activities.

Also speaking at the event, the Institute’s Executive Director, Membership & Training, Amb. Adeniyi Sola Bunmi said it is high time agriculture is viewed as a proper business and not as a development project.

He added that agribusiness should no longer be about people waiting for N50, 000 loan anymore as that cannot sustain any farmer.

He said that, “IAMN is the first professional institute for agribusiness professionals in Nigeria and that there is need to make it very strong one. IAMN is not an institute that prevents you from being a practitioner because you didn’t study agriculture. It is a professional body that encompasses every active player in the food value chains.

“IAMN Membership covers everyone starting from the farmers involved in primary production, to the Operations Managers working in Food processing factories up to the professionals involved in logistics and sales of food products and Agro commodities. IAMN is a holistic professional body that covers everyone from farm to fork.

“The institute will help Nigeria to move to the next level and become more competitive in the areas of agribusiness development because through the institute, professionals will be getting right capacity development and business networking support”.

“Things will no longer remain the same again in the Nigerian agribusiness sector”, he added.

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