Key players from the agriculture and finance communities in Nigeria met in Abuja on 24 October 2019 to validate the investment opportunities highlighted in the forthcoming SAFIN Investment Prospectus for Cassava, Maize and Soybean Value Chains in Nigeria. The workshop was hosted by SAFIN country anchor AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited and attended by representatives from the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Feed the Future – Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity (USAID), the European Commission, GIZ, AGRA, Bank of Industry, Royal Exchange, Alluvial, Efarms, and ProPoor Group.
The investment opportunities were presented at the workshop as part of SAFIN’s Alignment of Investment workstream and continuing efforts to facilitate inclusive models for agri-finance. The draft prospectus concentrates on states where cultivation of these three crops is prevalent: soybeans in Benue state, maize in Kaduna state and cassava in Kogi state. Among the opportunities detailed are soya cake and crude soya oil processing, packaged garri processing and expansion of the Agro-Service Provider model in Nigeria.
Investing in Agro-Service Providers (ASPs) emerged as an area of common interest due to their potential to address various challenges by aggregating smallholder farmers, bundling services at reduced cost and increasing economies of scale. ASPs function as intermediaries between producers and processers, providing a range of services to farmers to improve their yield production and quality, and leveraging their expert knowledge of markets to store and time the sale to processors to maximize profits. Participants confirmed interest in a blended financial solution involving the public and private sector to support and finance the expansion of ASP activities, which SAFIN will pursue in 2020.
At the workshop, participants expressed satisfaction with the findings of the prospectus and the opportunities it highlighted.
“From what we heard at this meeting, we should not fear supporting the agricultural sector because it provides opportunities. What we fear and hope to address in supporting agriculture is the growing population and climate issues,” said Inga Stefanowics, International Cooperation Officer at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in an interview with The News Agency of Nigeria following the workshop.
The Investment Prospectus for Cassava, Maize and Soybean Value Chains in Nigeria will be released early next year and made be available in the SAFIN Resource Library.