News / Africa

Nigeria Aims to Transform Agricultural Sector

FILE - A farmer plows the field in Saulawa village, on the outskirts of Nigeria's north-central state of Kaduna.
FILE - A farmer plows the field in Saulawa village, on the outskirts of Nigeria's north-central state of Kaduna.
Peter Clottey

Nigeria’s government plans to wean the country from years of overdependence on oil production by transforming the agricultural sector into the cornerstone of the economy, according to Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina.

Some Nigerians say lack of leadership and political will by several governments led to the neglect of the agricultural sector, the backbone of the country’s economy before the discovery of oil.  Nigeria is currently Africa’s biggest oil producer.

But Agricultural minister Adesina said the government has implemented measures to transform agricultural production to produce food for local consumption in a bid to end the country’s high-rate import bill.

“The objective is to use agriculture as a wealth creator to diversify the economy to create wealth and to create a lot of jobs,” said Adesina.

Aggressive goals

The target is to produce 20 million tons of additional food by 2015 according to Adesina.

Analysts say there is no reason why Nigeria should be importing basic staples such as rice and wheat when the country is blessed with more than 84 million hectares of arable land for agricultural production to meet local consumption and exports.

Adesina admits the dependence on oil production has often left Nigeria susceptible to the volatility associated with global commodity prices.  He says the administration’s agricultural policy is aimed at sharply reducing the shocks the economy receives due to the global commodity prices.

“The economy needs buffers and agriculture is what we have always done.  We had agriculture before we had oil.  We were the largest producer of palm oil in the world, we were the second largest producer of cocoa in the world, we were the largest producer of groundnuts in the word, so we can just basically return to back to basics, which is do agriculture, and unlock wealth,” said Adesina.

“An agriculture that is modern, an agriculture that is commercial, market-oriented, an agriculture that is seen not as a way of managing poverty,” Adesina said.  “We are going to be a global player in the food and agricultural market and that in trying to do that we are going to unlock wealth all across the country.”

Boosting investment

Adesina says investments in agriculture plummeted following the country’s oil discovery and production.

“We were not investing in agricultural research and as a result rural poverty grew because of that,” said Adesina.

He said the first step was to register all farmers to ensure proper planning and implementation of policies and to weed out corruption.

“The second thing that we did was to fix the input supply system that will get improved seeds and fertilizers to our farmers,” said Adesina.  “Because we have the biometric information of our farmers, we are able to reach our farmers on their mobile phones.  So we send electronic vouchers tour farmers by phone for their seeds and fertilizers, which they will then use and redeem straight off from the input retailers all over the rural areas.”

Adesina says the government has engaged the private sector, which he says is the engine of growth, to boost the agricultural sector and associated businesses.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Valentine from: Lagos
August 01, 2014 5:01 AM
Well organized story!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid