NIGERIA – Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s digital agriculture platform and the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) are seeking to establishing an agriculture special economic zone in Nigeria.

The announcement followed a meeting between the Managing Director/Chief Executive, NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba and the Farmcrowdy boss, Mr. Onyeka Akuma, after a courtesy visit by the latter to present the company’s plans of adding value through agriculture products processing and expansion of the sector through a special zone, reports This Day.

Akuma said it was high time Nigeria increased its non-oil exports and earn the much-needed foreign exchange in a more diversified economy, stressing that his company is “poised to go to the next level of our organisational development by looking at using the special economic zones to actualise our dream.”

He said Farmcrowdy planned to play an important role in the export of processed agricultural products to other African countries as soon as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA) commenced.

African leaders had moved the implementation of the AFCTA to January 2021 after failing to meet July 2020 timeline because of the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, Farmcrowdy ventured into the e-commerce space with the launch of Farmcrowdy Foods, a one-stop digital marketplace that allows consumers to purchase fresh farm produce from Farmcrowdy’s network of farmers and have it delivered to them.

Prof. Adesugba has expressed the agency’s readiness to partner the company towards the actualisation of the special economic zone for agriculture, describing Farmcrowdy as “an innovative firm with great contribution to agricultural business in Nigeria.”

“The NEPZA is ready to support Farmcrowdy in its plan to set up an Agriculture Special Economic Zone,” he stated.

Beginning of the year, the digital agricultural platform acquired a major stake in Best Foods, an agro company, in a bid to explore the meat business.

The deal will expose the company to the clientele and existing contracts of Best Foods in the meat market.

This will fast track its presence in the market, as the agtech firm will serve beef and poultry meat to 50 meat markets across the south-west region of Nigeria, including 100 customer endpoints.

Also, with the capacity to process 120 – 200 bulls every day, Best Foods is one of the largest meat processors in the country.

So, considering the market demand for meat in Nigeria, the acquisition is a leverage for Farmcrowdy to tap into the two million consumers in Lagos and the 1.2 billion poultry meat demand in Nigeria.

Nigeria Livestock Industry estimated to be currently worth N30 trillion (US$77.3 billion), is projected to hit N50 trillion (US$128.8 billion) over the next decade showing an annual growth rate of 12.7 per cent, according to the Director General of the Nigeria Institute of Animal Science, Prof. Eustace Iyayi.

The current worth of the industry constitutes approximately 20 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and will be more than 30 per cent at the rate of the 10-year projected figure against today’s GDP.

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