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AGRICULTURE

Linking Farmers To Agro Export Market

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Recently, Crenov8 Consulting; a leading consulting and digital technology firm in the Middle East, Dubai and Africa gathered stakeholders in the nation’s agricultural sector to sensitise, brainstorm and look at ways to connect large scale agro commodity producers to buyers from the Middle East. In this piece, ANTHONY AWUNOR who was at the event writes, that African farmers have an untapped market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries

Agriculture is one of the most revered industries in the world and it is arguably the most essential in the sustainability and enhancement of human life. While its products may be broad ranging from breeding animals and plants for food consumption, to biofuel and other products that help improve and enrich human life; the industry itself has always been a key in the development of civilization.

In recognition of this axiom Crenov8 Consulting has started to make moves that would bridge that gap between African farmers and, not only Dubai but other GCC countries and even beyond. This steps is expected to boost the untapped agro export market in African countries alongside the GCC dependency on food imports for sustainability which has remained unattended to over the years.

Concerned with the vacuum and with a desire to empower African farmers, the firm has further initiated an approach known as “Meet the Farmers Conference” (MTFC) to fill this gap by creating a synergy between agro farmers, agribusiness stakeholders in Africa and off-takers in the GCC.  Since introduction, this approach has been met with a resounding applause from the last MTFC conference which took place in 217.

Meet The Farmers’ Conference is an agro stakeholders’ conference that aims to connect large scale agro commodity producers to buyers from the Middle East. In the course of the conference, key Stakeholders from Africa and GCC will come together during a one-day event to network, collaborate, and form potential business partnerships across borders to ensure food security in the Middle East and promote agribusiness in Africa. More importantly; African farmers, participants, exhibitors and delegates at this event will be able to leverage on the business opportunities available to them in Dubai and other GCC countries.

Already, Crenov8 in a media launch held recently in Lagos, had also announced October 10th 2018 for this year’s MTFC scheduled to hold in Lagos.

Before now, the firm had equally embarked on this mission in 2017 to create a platform where the African agricultural producers will meet with the off takers in the Middle East and beyond to effectively translate business deals; holding the first edition in Dubai last year.

MTFC held its first African Conference edition in Ghana on July 4, 2018, at Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel, Accra and the Nigerian edition of the Africa conference has been concluded to hold early October.

The main purpose of this event, according to Crenov8  is to establish and strengthen the international trade ties that exist between Africa and the GCC through agriculture utilizing the unique positioning of Dubai as a hub. The focus for this year’s conference is ‘’The Future of Agribusiness.’’

Speaking at the media launch to announce this year’s conference, Bola Oyedele of Crenov8 Consulting stated that “MTFC is targeted at both large and small small-scale farmers to tap into the $100billion market in Dubai- that’s why we are partnering with relevant stakeholders across both government with Bank of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Ministry of Agriculture as well as the private sector with the likes of Farmcrowdy and AFEX to help us aggregate farmers to export Agric produce to the UAE.”

“Kenya, Ghana and Rwanda have benefitted immensely from the first conference we held in Dubai in 2017 and we have set up warehouses and business links for many agribusinesses in the UAE.” She said.

Ayodele said that with what they are doing, African farmers, participants, exhibitors and delegates at the event will be able to leverage the business opportunities available to them in Dubai and other GCC countries.

She said “Also participants will be able to gain insights into a wide range of topics such as agro commodity trading in Dubai and GCC, import and export requirements, financing, shipping, insurance, processing, packaging, technology, laws and policies.

She said, using Dubai as a hub, the GCC will be able to enjoy the rich crops from the tropics of Africa, while the African countries will also experience a boost in agro trade.

On his part, the Executive Director, Finance and Risk Management – Bank of Agriculture (BOA); Prince Niyi Akenzua said at the launch that MTFC is a good initiative that must be sustained until it achieves its stated aims in linking Nigerian Agribusiness owners with the UAE market.

President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce; Babatunde Ruwase further stressed that The Meet the Farmers’ Conference will further encourage more stakeholders to invest in Agriculture and help build trade ties with the UAE especially Dubai.

Major partners of the conference, Farmcrowdy CEO; Onyeka Akumah praised the MTFC initiative, saying that the conference will go a long way in bringing Agric stakeholders in Africa together to link every step of the agricultural value chain under one umbrella where all sectors can discuss the crucial issues in Agriculture, find innovative solutions to them and most importantly benefit from each other.

Lauding the initiative, Country Manager, AFEX Commodities Exchange, Ayodeji Balogun, said AFEX is pleased to partner with the MTFC project as it will unlock the potential market of agribusiness across the value chain in Nigeria and the Middle East.

The Meet the Farmers Conference is supported by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Lagos State’s Ministry of Agriculture, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, FADAMA and AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited; all of whom were well represented at the Press briefing.

Also present at the media launch were Stanbic IBTC Bank, representatives from Ministry of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and stakeholders from the agricultural sector, farmers, export authorities, banks, and suppliers of agricultural machineries, Agric start-ups amongst several other technical partners.



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