Because the 12 months steadily involves an finish and the Muhammadu Buhari-led authorities winds down, Head, Agro-Economic system Desk, FEMI IBIROGBA writes on how the nation has fared in meals safety, import substitution, job creation and financial diversification.
The Agriculture Promotion Coverage (APP) of the federal authorities, with the goals of accomplishing meals safety, import substitution, job creation and financial diversification, has been described as a coverage with out the political will to execute, and therefore, a failure.
The coverage, spelt out in The Inexperienced Different, states, partly, that, “In 2016 to 2020, Nigeria’s coverage now must be readjusted to resolve the aforementioned challenges. The go ahead federal priorities (in partnership with the state governments) would be the following 4: meals safety; import substitution; job creation; and financial diversification.”
Manufacturing determine of essentially the most consumed meals merchandise within the nation, rice, has been a topic of controversy in latest time. The USA’ Division of Agriculture’s World Markets and Commerce lately dropped a bombshell, saying that greater than three million metric tonnes of rice had been imported into Nigeria this 12 months. Its report additionally said that Nigeria’s native rice manufacturing dropped from 2016 to 2018 in comparison with the scenario in 2015.
In view of this, the Nation Consultant and Regional Coordinator of Africa Rice Centre (AfricaRice), Ibadan, Dr Francis Nwilene, cleared the air by revealing to The Guardian that Nigeria’s demand for rice each year hovers round 7.eight million metric tonnes, whereas manufacturing nonetheless hovers round 5.eight million metric tonnes.
Although this has generated scorching arguments, it factors to at least one truth, that Nigeria is much from being meals self-sufficient, not to mention being food-secure.
The Regional Coordinator of the Cassava: Including Worth for Africa (C:AVA), Professor Kolawole Adebayo, whereas explaining how the federal government coverage has failed, mentioned he wouldn’t price the federal government excessive both in diversification of the financial system, in creation of alternatives in agriculture or in meals safety.
He admitted that the federal government has achieved some issues, however has not achieved as a lot as one would have anticipated from a authorities that has, as one of many cardinal goals, the intention of diversifying the financial system by the sector.
“I believe, as quickly as the federal government noticed that the oil value was getting higher, it turns its face to the oil once more moderately than spend money on the agricultural sector. Have they achieved any main funding in agriculture? No. All that this authorities has achieved is tapping from the prevailing initiatives or concepts moderately than making a acutely aware set of funding concepts to drive agriculture instead financial alternative. I might not price them excessive,” mentioned Professor Adebayo.
“If you would like extra money, then you need to make investments,” says an adage. That’s an space that we’ve not acquired it proper as a nation. The agricultural sector has been in a shambles for too lengthy. And we’ve not made deliberate investments in extension companies and rural infrastructure that will make the areas extra enticing to younger individuals. We have now not put in place a advertising system that will encourage those that dare to enter agriculture to have sure markets for his or her produce,” he added.
With out these investments, Adabayo insisted, there isn’t a method any serious-minded authorities would say it has achieved diversification of financial system from oil to agriculture.
Additionally explaining the lack of the federal government to make progress within the agro-economic sector, Professor Femi Mimiko, a former vice chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin College, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, mentioned: “There isn’t any query about the truth that attaining meals safety is fascinating. That the incumbent federal authorities has that aspiration is noteworthy. It is a sign that the federal government itself is aware of that the nation is certainly within the throes of a meals safety disaster…”
Meals safety, Mimiko mentioned, is a part of the contradictions of the system that makes the federal authorities that has no farm wherever to be superintending meals manufacturing.
“That’s the nature of the disaster of the unitary system we run, which is able to by no means be productive, as a result of it runs towards the grain of logic. I’m a Comparative Political Economist, and I can inform you that the pattern the world over is for international locations to maneuver extra within the path of sub-national autonomy, with out which, it has turn into apparent, you can’t get the perfect from the individuals,” Mimiko added.
Put up-harvest losses within the nation are traceable to non-induatrilisation of a lot of the crops. These losses are estimated to be almost 40% per cent of the agricultural merchandise, particularly in greens and fruits.
Poor financing and too complicated funding schemes have additionally been recognized as a barrier to meals safety, for nearly all small-scale farmers are excluded, on the bottom of course of complexity of the services.
The Managing Director of Dizengoff West Africa, Mr Antti Ritvonen, had made this identified on a number of events that with out the companies of economic legal professionals and accountants on the aspect of the farmers, the necessities and processes are too complicated.
Tomato paste, egg powder, unique vegetables and fruit (from South Africa to Shoprite), vegetable oil, maize for industrial and animal feeds manufacturing are nonetheless being imported. Industrial instruments and equipment that native fabricators within the nation are able to producing are nonetheless imported in giant amount, as a result of the federal government has didn’t organise and empower the native fabricators to ship native contents regardless of the Govt Order 5 on native sourcing.
Prof. Mimiko mentioned import substitution should be clearly articulated, including, “this isn’t a brand new mannequin of financial improvement. Certainly, it was in place in a lot of the 1970s. The hope then was that Nigeria was turning into what improvement practitioners have been fast to dub as Newly Industrialising States (NISs).
“But it surely quickly grew to become clear, by the point we had a burst within the crude oil financial system, that import substitution industrialisation (ISI) was solely doable on the idea of excessive, steady, and sustained earnings from crude oil. You’ll agree with me that we’re hardly in any place to ensure all of that now.”
Professor Samuel Olakojo, a maize breeder on the Institute of Agricultural Analysis and Coaching (IAR&T), Ibadan, mentioned importation of rice has diminished due to the presence of some large-scale rice farmers.
Nonetheless, he mentioned importation of maize and wheat would proceed to reinforce the native manufacturing as a result of the vast majority of the maize farmers are small-scale farmers, and they’re restricted by some components.
The components, he mentioned, embrace stoppage of 50 per cent fertilizer subsidy emplaced by the final administration and planting of maize grains as seeds leading to low yields.
Pastor Reno Omokri had claimed that primarily based on the final report on the unemployment determine by the Nationwide Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 7.9 million Nigerians have been unemployed in 21 months of this authorities, and due to this fact, has failed.
NBS’s failure to launch knowledge on the present unemployment determine has additionally been interpreted as hoarding of the data to keep away from revealing the alarming determine and the failure of the federal government.
Extra companies are closing operations in Nigeria and banks sack staff each quarter within the final three years, an Ibadan-based regional agric credit score supervisor in one of many oldest banks within the nation, who most well-liked anonymity, instructed The Guardian.
Olakojo mentioned in time period of job creation, the federal government has not achieved a lot. “The little I can credit score to the account of this authorities is that some multinational firms have come into the nation and they’re taking agriculture to the next degree, and they’re able to make use of some consultants working with them. However loads of their work is extremely mechanised. That implies they might not want many staff,” he mentioned.
Mimiko added that job creation, too, is a lot of a problem now, saying, “However sincerely, why it’s so is kind of some shock to me. I imply, in a rustic the place you will have a lot wants – deficit in housing, a horde of uneducated youths, gaps in upkeep of public infrastructures, in depth arable land, and one large inhabitants of about 200 million! Why on earth ought to there be unemployment within the midst of those realities. I believe what’s required right here is means to suppose exterior of the field.”
The federal government, he urged, must be inventive to find the requisite concord amongst the entire listed variables to create the setting conducive to job creation. The rate of interest, at double digits, may not propel financial development and job creation.
“These, I believe are structural points to handle, moderately than the spectacle of a complete Vice President gallivanting in every single place distributing 5 thousand naira to Nigerians,” he mentioned.
Crude oil nonetheless stays the mainstay of the financial system. The 2017 GDP of the sector was 24.44 per cent. Agro-industrialisation has been crippled by deteriorating energy provide, with agro-allied companies folding up, relocating or producing beneath capability.
On this Professor Mimiko mentioned that whereas the objective of financial diversification is laudable, “let me enterprise an opinion right here. It’s that shifting focus from hydrocarbon (i.e. crude oil and fuel) extraction and export, to mining of strong minerals, doesn’t quantity to a lot of financial diversification. It is because in the end right here, you’re nonetheless speaking of increasing the parametres of an extractive, largely enclave sector.”
He urged that what must be achieved is an entire broadening of the scope and base of the financial system, saying a lot of these items usually are not achievable within the context of the over-centralised governance system being operated.
“That’s the reason the financial system isn’t performing. It’s why there may be a lot insecurity, and normal disillusionment,” he defined.
Olakojo mentioned although the federal government seems to be making efforts to diversify the financial system, the efforts haven’t yielded optimistic outcomes to the gross home merchandise.
The herder-farmer disaster is a serious difficulty stopping vital contribution of the sector to the financial system. Some farmers have shifted to planting of cashew that might not be destroyed by cattle. An excellent variety of youths wanted on the farm are bike riders and politicians usually are not serving to issues by empowering them with bikes and pepper grinding machines as a substitute of serving to them to farm and contribute to meals manufacturing.
The autumn military worm infestation since 2016, Olakojo mentioned, has added to the failure of agriculture to shoot up contribution to the financial system. That is additional aggravated by the local weather change.