Rice, Cassava Wheat, and poultry products fall within the shortlist of farm produce All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, handed to Federal Government as potential money spinners for the economy if well exploited through the continental trade agreement.
This much was revealed Arc Kabir Ibrahim, AFAN National President, while asking Government to encourage the private sector to drive Nigeria’s agriculture by strictly providing the enabling environment for sustainable agribusiness in the country.
In his New Year message, Ibrahim called on the government to work assiduously in providing sufficient energy and security for agricultural production, sufficient storage to minimise post-harvest loss, processing for sustainable value addition, good transportation for efficient distribution of goods and services, an efficient commodity exchange as well as closely monitored national consumption.
As part of quick wins or short term deliverables, Ibrahim recommended that,
“All stakeholders in the agriculture space should be trained to recognise that agricultural productivity is the only option for collaboration and partnership because the vital interest is national prosperity above all else.
“The implementation of the National Agricultural policy should be seen as a collective responsibility for the national government as well as all the subnational governments.
“Every region should concentrate on fully addressing the staple commodities in its immediate geographical area.
“There should be a collective effort to stem insecurity by all Nigerians.
“Every Nigerian should be held accountable for their actions both in government and the private sector by ensuring a reciprocal consequence for any malfeasance.”
On the other hand, the AFAN National President called on the government to leverage African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA) to make Nigeria the food basket of the Continent, through using its vast cultivable,irrigable land resources as well as its other abundant resources such as oil and other minerals.
According to him, “Nigeria should judiciously deploy its oil resources to enhance investments in commodities like Cassava, Coacoa,Cotton, Poultry, Rice, Wheat, Maize, Hibiscus, Sunflower, Vegetables,Sesame,Ginger, Dairy, Hides and Skin, Cowpea as well as peanuts and dates for the export market in Africa in the first instance and then globally to the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
“Nigeria should encourage continuous processing and packaging as well as distribution of all commodities of comparative advantage.
“Nigeria should give a boost to its textile and food industries. Nigeria should create Centres of Excellence for Agricultural Education.
“Nigeria should spear head the evolution of a pastoralism hub to harness its dairy and beef industry as well as livestock sector agribusiness promoting leather and pure skin value-chain.
“Nigeria should exploit its marine resources and aquaculture.
“Nigeria should embark on full scale industrialisation of its agriculture through full deployment of Science,Technology and Innovation and full scale agricultural mechanisation.”
Ibrahim lamented that Nigeria has been sliding into fragility in its food systems due to corruption and bad governance over the years.
He said: “If we deepen knowledge based agribusiness 2024 may well be Nigeria’s year of agricultural prosperity, sustainable food security and relative peace.
“The incident of gradual descent into fragility in any nation is as a result of inefficiencies in the entire food system and institutional malfunctions.
“Nigeria has been gradually descending into fragility due to corruption and inefficient governance beginning from the second republic through the various military interventions up-to this moment, unfortunately.
“The manifestation of the various economic challenges should be a wakeup call to all Nigerians instead of a recipe for complacency and unjustifiable blame-game!
“We enjoyed relative prosperity upon the discovery of oil but we squandered the proceeds from it by embarking on poorly thought-out grandiose projects, grand scale corruption and inefficient management.
“To restore Nigeria’s glory and dignity we need to roll up our sleeves and embark on sustainable innovation and serious knowledge-driven Agricultural production, processing including invaluable value addition.
“To start with we should aim at adequately feeding our huge population of over 200,000,000 and still counting as a short term milestone.
“This is not very easy for several reasons,though,but definitely doable with focus and determination.”