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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid