Mr John Bray, the U.S. Consul General in Lagos has urged Nigeria to leverage on its vast agricultural potential to create wealth and boost its economy.
Bray said this on Friday in Lagos during the African Food and Products Conference and Exhibition (AFPE) with the theme, “Sustainability and Innovation: Pathway to Business Success for SMEs’’.
Bray represented by Brent Omdahl, Commercial Counselor, U.S. Commercial Service, said that the world knew Nigeria as an oil country not as an agriculture rich nation.
“The task before Nigeria is to show the world its enormous potential in agriculture.
“Nigeria needs to use agriculture to create wealth, employment and grow its economy, U.S. is doing that and Nigeria can do that too.
“In the next 50 years, what produce will be known around the world as a signature product from Nigeria.
“Would it be shea butter, tiger nut, cashew or palm oil; Nigeria has the comparative advantage in these produce and more and should explore it the same way the U.S. explored cranberry potential to create wealth,” he said.
Also, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director, Sterling Bank, said that achieving sustainable growth in the country was about the ability to reduce poverty, boost employment and improve citizen’s welfare.
Suleiman, represented by Mr Shina Atilola, Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking, Sterling Bank, said that any initiative or policy that did not lead to employment creation would not catalyse development.
According to him, Sterling Bank is using innovation to facilitate seamless and quick access to finance for Small and Medium Enterprises toward aiding their sustainable business growth.
He said that many SMEs were using innovation to drive their businesses, expressing optimism that Nigerian businesses would in the nearest future proffer solutions to the world’s food challenge.
Earlier, Otunba Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, President, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), said that the chamber sought to utilise AFPE to improve profitability and sustainable global competitiveness for Nigerian SMEs.
Akomolafe said that innovation was crucial to achieving a strong organisational structure and robust economic growth.
He said that Nigeria’s futuristic economic growth could not be sustained with oil revenue but continued investment and attractive policies to aid growth of SMEs.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the African Food and Products Conference and Exhibition (AFPE) was organised by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC).
NAN also reports that AFPE has about 90 exhibitors at the event which closes on May 25, at Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island.