Ayodeji Balogun, Africa director of Afex Commodities Exchange Limited, asserted that to have revolutionised agriculture sector in Nigeria, farmers must have easy access to finance and the application of technology.
Balogun stated this at a one-day workshop themed “CodeCashCrop,” organised by Afex Commodities Exchange Limited in collaboration with Dalberg Global Development Advisors, AgroNigeria, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, and INTL FCStone in Lagos.
AFEX, which has invested heavily in technology, according to the Africa director, has a trading platform running that now runs live, where traders, buyers, and financiers connect remotely and transact within and/or outside the country.
“Technology is a strong enabler which, which appropriately applied, brings marriage between finance and agriculture to fruition,” the director added.
The organisation had been able to organise rural farmers into bankable groups, provide finance for farmers and construct storage facilities as well as invested in technology through the provision of a trading platform for farmers to sell off their goods at reasonable prices.
Balogun noted that Afex has also created an asset class for investors to enable them to invest in agriculture as well as reaching more smallholder farmers, improving their livelihoods and sustaining their production.
He, however, regretted the non-application of technology in Nigeria agriculture, which has served as a major set back in the sector, and if properly harnessed, the technology could help create wealth across all value chains in the sector.
The workshop, according to Ayomide Akindolie, a Senior Consultant at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, aimed at bringing practitioners in technology, finance, and agriculture for effective collaboration in order to boost agricultural production. Noting that the organisation had been working in Nigeria, other countries in Africa and the world on issues relating to development and agriculture, providing strategic advisory services on development and agriculture in countries where it was operational.
Agriculture was the next big thing in Nigeria and Africa, not because of fall in oil prices but because of the potentials in the sector, Adeline Fabre, a Partner at Choiseul Africa noted.