Stakeholders call for more players in agri-food system

FAO ready to transform agri-food systems – DG – Blueprint Newspapers Limited

Agricultural and Food stakeholders have called for more players in the agri-food system.

The stakeholders believe there is need to increase their investments in homegrown innovation and local production of raw materials,

They say all these and more will address the challenges of rising food prices across the country,

Speaking at the sub-summit of the recently concluded NES, which had its theme as: Sustainable Food Security and Systems Response, the group managing director of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Omoboyede Olusanya stressed the need to increase local supply of raw materials to enhance food security.
He said innovation of local raw materials further drives investments in backward integration.
Olusanya said Nigeria produces about 22 million tonnes of grains whereas the country needs 60 million tonnes yearly.
He explained that FMN champions the use of local raw materials and innovation to create affordable products for Nigerians.

He said this would ensure that even as imported raw materials increase in price due to a massive gap between supply and demand, the company is able to keep prices low while maintaining quality through innovation and local supply. 
Because of the cyclical nature of prices of raw materials, according to Olusanya, Flour Mills of Nigeria partakes and off-takes and innovates to try and make products as affordable as possible.

Olusanya however, affirmed commitment to continue investing in the country based on Nigeria’s size, growing youth population, and talent pool, all of which contribute to the country’s attractiveness. 
He stated that the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) expanded the scope of the Nigerian market. 
He mentioned the population size as an example of the prospects available, but also stated that Nigeria’s size and population made it an attractive market for foreign investors as well as a possible dumping ground for products. 
He said in the future, the ability of companies like FMN to compete would depend on the cost side, which explains the need for local production of raw materials, stressing that there is also a need to make farming attractive for the youth.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the opening ceremony of the event, identified the many development programmes and projects Nigeria is undertaking.

This according to him, includes the renewable power project to connect 1.5 million homes.

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