Expert urges Benue to establish commodity trading Agency to boost Agribusiness

Mr Chris Echikwu, an Agribusiness expert, has called for the establishment of a Commodity Trading Management Agency to promote agribusiness and address the challenges facing Benue's agricultural sector. Echikwu, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, noted the necessity of the agency to tackle the multifaceted issues hindering the growth of the agricultural economy in the state. According to him, Agribusiness, a fusion of agriculture and commerce, encompasses various activities ranging from production, storage, distribution, logistics, finance, to marketing. Echikwu said that the challenges confronting the agricultural sector in Benue often referred to as the 'Food Basket of the Nation, were significant. He noted the abundance of commercially valuable agro-commodities in the state, including yams, sesame seeds, palm produce, and various fruits, saying these commodities contributed to its agricultural prominence. According to him, the prevalence of trading activities acr oss the state's 23 local government areas, with major markets like Wannune, Buruku, and Zakibiam, showed pivotal roles in procurement. Echikwu expressed concern over quality assurance issues regarding quality and weight accuracy, which have resulted in the blacklisting of certain commodities. He highlighted the absence of transport logistics and formal structure for price dissemination, hindering market transparency and efficiency. The expert underscored the importance of establishing direct linkages between farmers and end-users to enhance profitability. He also added the need for improved government revenue collection from market activities to address inefficiencies in revenue generation. Echikwu called for strategic interventions to reposition the agribusiness sector, stressing the importance of collaborative efforts between stakeholders to address the multifaceted issues impeding growth. The expert said that the proposed Commodity Trading Management Agency, would provide a structured platform for ef ficient, transparent, and organised trade in commodities. He outlined collaboration with government agencies to enforce regulations, enhance market infrastructure, and establish links with domestic and international buyers. The agency, he added would also advise on sustainable agribusiness development policies, extending its role beyond trading management. Echikwu said the establishment of a Commodity Trading Management Agency was a strategic imperative to unlock the full potential of the agricultural sector and foster economic growth and prosperity. Source: News Agency of Nigeria