Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said it is ready to partner with the country’s Agricultural Insurance Corporation to deepen the nation’s commodities trading ecosystem.

Director General of SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda, stated this during a meeting with the management of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), the commission said in a statement on Sunday.

Yuguda said his commission was committed to developing the commodities ecosystem as a potent way forward in Nigeria’s quest for sustainable foreign exchange earnings and economic development.

He assured that SEC was working hard to ensure that agricultural produce meet international specifications for export, hence the need to also work with NAIC in a bid to be able to mitigate various risks in the ecosystem when they happen.

“This sector is key to our country’s future. If we can harness it, it will greatly improve the economy of this country,” Yuguda said.

He said the commission had constituted a technical committee comprising Standard Organisation of Nigeria and other stakeholders on commodities trading ecosystem with a mandate to identify challenges with the existing framework and develop a roadmap for a vibrant ecosystem.

One of the recommendations in the report identified the development of grading and standardisation system in line with international best practice.

“We are therefore willing to also work with NAIC to grow the commodities sector,” he said.

The SEC DG said there were external markets that needed the commodities produced in Nigeria but lamented that the only impediment at the moment was lack of standards which, he said, was the reason some of the commodities were not being accepted in the international market.

Also speaking, NAIC Managing Director, Mrs Folashade Joseph, said her organisation was willing and available to push forward any initiative that would add value to the population and the nation’s economy.

“It is a privilege to do this. As things begin to evolve, we try to push forward what will add value to the population. Our focus is on commodities. There are various evolving issues during the course of our business as insurers because we manage across the value chain,” she said.

The NAIC MD added that in areas of storage and insurance issues, the collaboration would be of great benefit to all parties involved and assured that NAIC was ready to provide its expertise in anything that would add value to the commodities ecosystem.

Also, the commissioner in charge of operations at SEC, Mr. Dayo Obisan, said enormous opportunities abounded in the entire agricultural value chain that, if well harnessed, would lead to further development of the nation’s economy.

“There has been a couple of developments in the commodities side, the entire value chain is quite large. The farmers want someone to take up the crops, even local companies in Nigeria can do that. They need quality seeds as well as the funds to buy them. If the sector is not de-risked, it will be difficult to attract investors,” Obisan said.