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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora