Tunji Falade, the chairman, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Agriculture and Agro-Allied Sector, has identified access to funding as critical challenge stifling the performance of its mostly micro, small and medium enter-
prises (MSMEs) members.
Falade in an interview with business a.m. said the chamber was harnessing efforts to enhance the productivity of its members in the various segments of agriculture but needed robust financial support to actualise.
Its members, he said were actively exploring the whole value chain of agriculture in terms of agro processing, food processing, storage and distribution among others based on its categories.
“One of the challenges we have identified is access to fund. There is no easy access to fund. Those who have already started can’t expand the way they would have wished to expand even though they have the market for their product and if they don’t have enough funds, their operation can even collapse. Those who want to start can’t. The issue funding is very critical. With the initiative federal government has put in place, we want to leverage on them. The most recent one is the N220 billion that is being earmarked for agric-business as well as MSMEs,”
The chairman who doubles as the chief executive officer, Kingsway Quality Foods said finance shortfall was why it has put together a sensitization programme coming up next week in collaboration with CBN and SMEDAN. The programme will essentially educate enterprises and provide information on how to access the fund currently available.
He said the chamber was also looking at technology research and collaboration with other phases of the economy such as partnership with banks and agric insurers. According to him, banks were more comfortable in lending with the involvement of insurers.
“We are also looking at research because without it, not much can be done in this economy. Most of these agro-products can actually be processed into industrial products. So we are trying to work with research institutes like FIIRO, IITA and several
others to ensure we can get more from agro produce,” he
Speaking on the adverse impact of smuggling of agricultural commodities into the country via neigbouring routes, the chairman condemned the security lax, urging the government to do a better policing of the borders to protect local investment confidence.