The Lagos State Government has charged entrepreneurs in the agriculture and agribusiness value chains to embrace e-commerce to benefit from the opportunities offered by electronic platforms to access large markets and record more sales.

The Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives (MCIC), Mrs. Lola Akande gave the charge at the maiden edition of a three-day Management Capacity Building for MSME operators on Agribusiness and E-Commerce for Improved Productivity and Patronage (E-COMAGBUS 2022), themed: “The Relevance of E-Commerce As Catalyst to Agribusiness Value Chain In A 21st Century Economy”, held at the Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

Akande, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, MCIC, Mrs. Adetutu Oluremi Ososanya, stated that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration is making massive investments in building the capacity of entrepreneurs in agribusiness to explore e-commerce because it has emerged as an alternative model to formalise informal value chain by enabling the buying and selling of produce online.

This, according to her, would allow farmers to bypass intermediaries and sell directly to various customer groups that would have otherwise been out of reach.

Her words: “The rapid growth in e-commerce has the potential to address long-standing deficiencies in the Nigerian agricultural sector and transform Agribusinesses; which is a primary source of income for the majority of Nigerian households. E-Commerce will ensure ease of delivery which comes with advantages such as low prices, easy accessibility, cross-boundary selling and other advantages which give multiple benefits.

The present administration, under the able leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has consciously driven agricultural development through the initiation and implementation of policies that create and foster a positive business environment for agribusinesses by enhancing their technical and non-technical entrepreneurial skills and improving access to networks and financial services.

In her words: “Also, with the state-wide 3,000-kilometre fibre optic backbone being built by Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration, agribusinesses in the State would be able to partake in the global e-commerce of which Nigeria currently accounts for about US$6.9 billion in 2021.”

While calling on investors to tap into huge investment opportunities such as the provision of e-trading platforms, internet services, storage technology and facilities, Akande affirmed that if agriculture, youth and technology are put together through appropriate government policies that encourage more entrepreneurs to come into the sector, it will speed up economic development.

“Technology must meet farmers on their farms. I think that is where we must begin”, she said.

While commending Lagos State for organising the programme, the Guest Lecturer, Dr. Joshua Odewale maintained that E-Commerce in Agriculture can boost output, efficiency and rural development while improving access to necessary information that can help agricultural stakeholders make the best decisions using the resources available to improve productivity.

“E-Commerce will transform the way stakeholders collect, analyse, store and share information so as to make the best returns on agricultural investment. The joint efforts of e-commerce, agriculture and ICT sectors are required for the successful launch of the e-commerce strategy. There should be room for improvement through conscious effort”, he declared.

The CEO of WUFAS Empowerment, Mr. Akindele Faleye applauded Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the capacity-building programme, which he described as commendable and timely for agribusinesses.

Representatives of stakeholder organisations such as the Association of Food and Agro-processing of Nigeria (AFAP), National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), National Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (NASME), Origin Automobile Nigeria Limited, Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) all lauded the administration for staging the pioneering initiative.

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