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

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs