A former Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr Rasheed Olaoluwa, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to grant tax holidays to agric-tech companies to encourage their growth.
Olaoluwa made the appeal during the 1st anniversary and launch of Farmcrowdy Agric-tech App in Lagos.
Newsmen report that agric-tech companies focus on connecting farmers with farm sponsors for the purpose of increasing food production in the country.
The platform uses sponsors’ funds to engage farmers, provide them seeds and insure the farmers and their farm produce through the full farming cycle.
They also provide market access after harvest and pays the sponsor a return on their sponsorship.
`Olaoluwa urged government to give tax incentives to emerging sectors such as agric-tech platforms to encourage their pioneering role in developing the agriculture sector.
““Within one year of operation, they have impacted over 1000 farmers directly, if you add the farmers’ wives and children, that is about 5000 people.
“” If they are able to impact 1000 at this size, you are talking about impacting millions of lives as they grow.
`”This is the type of start-up and business that government should be trying to encourage to encourage more participation and jobs in the agriculture space,” Olaoluwa said.
According to him, using technology to drive agriculture will enable the country boost food production, build linkages between farmers and processors and enhance government’s diversification agenda.
The former BoI boss said that government should consider granting pioneer status incentives to agric- tech companies to attract more technology and youth participation in the sector.
Earlier, Farmcrowdy Chief Executive Officer, Mr Onyeka Akumah, said that the organisation was using its platform to attract funds to empower farmers, boost food production and aid food sufficiency in the country.
“”We have about 38 million small-holder farmers in the country that are regarded as un-bankable; they lack adequate agric-technology practice and access to market.
“”With our platform, we have been able to bridge these gaps by connecting people, who are interested in agriculture but lack the skill and time, to actually fund credible farmers,” Akumah said.
The chief executive disclosed that the platform was operational in eight states, had about 4000 farmers and invested in poultry, maize, cassava, yam and soya beans produce.
According to him, about 1600 people in Akwa-Ibom have been impacted through the programme; and about 1000 women trained on how to plant cassava in the state.
Akumah said that the platform derisked investors of the farms through insuring against uncontrollable incidents to build sustainability in the programme.
According to him, the Farmcrowdy Mobile App can be downloaded on Apple and Google Play Store, and it would provide information on agriculture.
The chief executive added that the app would allow people to monitor stages of activities and investments in each farm.
Mr Godwin Ejeh, the Supply Chain Manager, Syngeta, said that his company was in Nigeria to assist farmers with innovative crop solutions that would transform crop production to enrich farmers.
Ejeh said that the company was partnering Farmcrowdy to provide improved seedlings, knowledge transfer to farmers on best agricultural practice to change the country’s agriculture landscape.