During a recent media interview, Rilwan Raji, CEO of DEKORAJ International Limited, a company specialized in agricultural and industrial production, shared insights on tackling Nigeria agricultural sectors challenges and outlined the essential steps for the government to achieve food security. He pointed out that the agricultural sector is bedevilled by an array of complex challenges, covering various aspects such as deficient infrastructure, limited involvement of youth and women, restricted credit accessibility, unfavourable credit terms, corruption, blackmail, misappropriation of funds, and pervasive farm insecurity.
Other challenges highlighted are inadequate training and engagement with the media, outdated farming techniques, inaccurate profiling of farmers, limited integration of technology, internal sabotage. However, the most pressing issues that must be addressed for achieving food security in the country are poor irrigation systems, post-harvest losses, the necessity for smart farming training, and the urgent need to improve access to modern farming technologies and practices. Raji highlighted the substantial contribution that the private sector can make in tackling the obstacles encountered by agricultural enterprises in Nigeria through the provisions of knowledge, innovation, and funding.
DEKORAJ employs smart farming techniques to boost the sector.
Innovative solutions and sustainable development are often born out of such collaborations, paving the way towards progress. Embracing private partnerships is also crucial in propelling Nigeria’s agricultural productivity forward, as it holds the key to achieving genuine growth in this sector. When asked about his company’s track-record in teaming up with private sector entities to combat agricultural challenges, he said DEKORAJ has proven to be adept at partnering with private entities, specifically in the implementation of cutting-edge agricultural technology and facilitating the creation of agribusiness value chains. These collaborations have greatly enhanced efficiency and increased market opportunities for farmers.
The firm utilizes advanced agricultural methods, acquires state-of-the-art machinery, and offers educational opportunities to farmers, all with the aim of amplifying output and streamlining operations in crop and livestock management. The CEO also notes that his firm bolstered the agricultural sector’s progress through various efforts including sharing knowledge, assisting small-scale farmers with cost-effective and up-to-date farming gear, offering affordable state-of-the-art tools, implementing advanced post-harvest storage systems, employing smart farming techniques alongside security equipment, and engaging in collaborations across the industry to tackle widespread issues.
Facilitating farmers’ access to credit is crucial.
He asserts that a shift in policies, backing from the private sector, and interventions by the government are essential. To illustrate, directing investments towards rural infrastructure and internal road networks, ensuring a persistent focus from the media, facilitating farmers’ access to credit, and implementing supportive policies that foster private sector engagement and ingenuity will pave the way towards progress. Raji revealed that his firm aimed to promote smart farming practices and make data-driven decisions by employing real data analytics. Also, they are actively exploring cutting-edge practices like precision agriculture to maximize the utilization of resources.
In order to encourage sustainable practice, he expressed that the company has organized complimentary agricultural training for young individuals, constructed cost-effective and innovative farming tools, implemented ways to decrease waste, and advocated for environmentally friendly farming resources. These measures are aimed at assisting the government in identifying deficiencies and implementing corrective actions. In addition, he observed that the government must formulate a conducive atmosphere by implementing supportive and enduring strategies, thereby solving issues of insecurity, empowering individuals with meaningful employment opportunities, and encouraging public-private partnerships, along with initiatives that enhance the chain of value.
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Raji perceived that addressing issues such as collaborating with financial institutions, providing low-interest loans with extended repayment periods, introducing government post-harvest markets (both digital and offline), conducting capacity-building programs, and establishing market connections, would effectively improve small-scale farmers profitability. He added that the firm’s overarching goal is to make significant contributions towards the growth of the sector by fostering sustainable practices and actively participating in the formulation of policies that could enhance the sector’s growth and resilience.