News / Economy

    Nigeria's Farming Reforms Still Face Hurdles

    A farmer plows the field in Saulawa village, on the outskirts of Nigeria's north-central state of Kaduna in this May 2013 photo.
    A farmer plows the field in Saulawa village, on the outskirts of Nigeria's north-central state of Kaduna in this May 2013 photo.
    Reuters
    Nigeria is reforming its farming sector to bolster production and draw investment but companies this week said more needs to be done to tackle entrenched corruption, poor infrastructure and rogue government agencies.

    Nigeria's annual economic summit focused on agriculture for the first time, in line with President Goodluck Jonathan's commitment to fixing Nigeria's biggest employer.

    Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture Akinwunmi Adesina addresses the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit Group meeting in Abuja, Sept. 3, 2013.Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture Akinwunmi Adesina addresses the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit Group meeting in Abuja, Sept. 3, 2013.
    x
    Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture Akinwunmi Adesina addresses the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit Group meeting in Abuja, Sept. 3, 2013.
    Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture Akinwunmi Adesina addresses the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit Group meeting in Abuja, Sept. 3, 2013.
    Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina, who has been praised by donors and businesses for his efforts, was keen to stress the success of reforms began two years ago.

    He said subsidies used to reduced the cost of fertilizer for farmers were not longer managed by corrupt politicians but instead were given directly to farmers.

    He said food imports had fallen by 850 billion naira ($5.2 billion) and food production was up by 8 million tons, helping to create 2.2 million new jobs.

    The government wants to add 20 million tons of domestic food production by 2020 and rice, corn, sorghum, palm oil and cocoa have already increased, Adesina said.

    The world's second-largest importer of rice, Nigeria aims to become self-sufficient by 2015 after introducing a 100 percent tax on polished rice imports this year, likely to mostly affect countries like India, Thailand and Brazil.

    Security sources and farmers have said one backlash has been a rise in smuggling of rice and sugar from neighboring countries and into ports.

    Higher cassava output has been used to make flour, reducing wheat imports mostly from the United States by almost 9 percent, Adesina said, who noted bank lending to agriculture had risen to 25 billion naira this year from just 3.5 billion in 2012.

    Duties on agricultural equipment have been scrapped and tax breaks given to companies willing to invest in both farming and industrial processes, as well.

    The country's reforms have drawn new foreign investors such food giant Cargill, seed company Syngenta  and brewer SABMiller, while Dangote Sugar  and others are investing more.

    However, many companies asked to speak at the summit gave a less rosy picture, saying state and local governments still extort unofficial payments, while officials at ports and customs either worked around government policies or outright ignored them.

    Confusing laws on land, much of which is owned or claimed by government officials, also mean it is difficult to expand. That has left 60 percent of Nigeria's arable land fallow, farmers say.

    Rhetoric vs. action

    “We're still battling with the basics; visa processing times, port delays, access to credit, transport systems. Rhetoric is all we are getting. It's time to walk the walk,” said Alan Jack, managing director of Shonga Farms, a mainly poultry and milk farming group which supplies the Lagos branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken, owned by Yum! Brands.

    Jack said imported chicken from Brazil cost 135 naira per kilo, while a chick in Nigeria cost 180 naira, making government plans to emulate its South American rival unrealistic.

    “Ports would scare the life out of anyone. It's the worst thing about your system,” said Calvin Burgess, chief executive of Dominion Farms, a U.S.-owned firm looking to farm rice in Taraba state.

    He said $10 million of agriculture equipment was delayed for almost a year because customs and other agencies sought bribes and noted Dominion had operated in Kenya for 10 years “without anything like these problems”.

    The government says port reform is a key policy, but investors say progress is slow.

    Industry players were also critical of Nigeria's dilapidated road network and troubled power supply noting it is often more profitable to ship produce to the U.K. rather than transport it from Lagos in the south to the biggest northern city, Kano.

    “We don't benefit from any infrastructure put in place. We have to build our own roads and provide our own electricity,” said Gbenga Oyebode, chairman of palm oil firm Okomu Palm, said.

    Africa's most populous country is privatizing much of its power sector, which should help improve electricity shortages that hurt the agriculture sector.

    Nigeria's reforms are needed to reduce reliance on a struggling oil sector and cut a $11 billion food import bill.

    “We see efforts but do we know these policies will be long term?” said Paul Gbededo, chief executive of FlourMills of Nigeria, one of the country's largest agriculture firms.

    “Every level of government must be committed.”

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Tayo from: goodgod12
    September 07, 2013 6:39 PM
    Like this word “Every level of government must be committed.”
    God will also help


    <a href="http://www.hynaija.com/"></a>

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8954
    JPY
    USD
    109.65
    GBP
    USD
    0.6827
    CAD
    USD
    1.3037
    INR
    USD
    67.037

    Rates may not be current.