Stakeholders Seek Demand- Driven Agriculture To Develop Sector

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LAGOS – A call has gone to the federal gov­ernment and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to promote demand- driven agriculture in order to develop the sector rather than the supply-driv­en, which is prevalent now.

Emmanuel Ijewere, Vice President of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NAGB) gave the advice while speak­ing in a telephone interview with our correspondent on the zero interest financing the federal government an­nounced that it would pro­vide for two million small­holder farmers nationwide under its Agric for Food and Jobs Plan.

He said that what govern­ment has played so much em­phasis on since independent has been a supply- based ag­riculture; that it is wrong to do that as agriculture should be demand-based.

“It think it is a wrong ap­proach first and foremost I be­lieve that the Minister should be first of all be talking about food security in Nigeria, the situation about jobs is easy; our farmers are employed but the first thing is that they are discouraged, they pro­duce so much, but so much of it is lost.

“I would have suggested that the Minister of Agri­culture and indeed the gov­ernment policy would be bringing in off-takers. What government has played so much emphasis on since independent has been a sup­ply-based agriculture, it is wrong to do that, agriculture should be demand-based.

“With 200 million Nigeri­ans we have a lot of mouth to feed but a lot of the food the hardworking and reliable farmers have been doing get lost and it never gets to your table so in all this, they have not looked at the real problem of the farmers,” he added.

While commenting on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plan to fund 1.6 million farmers for this wet season, Ijewere said that the CBN has been in the forefront of devel­oping agriculture in Nigeria because it has the right for­mula and the right attitude.

“They based their policies on a demand-based economy that means people say; this is what we want, then they go to people who will produce it for them. Usually people who say this is what we want are usu­ally financially stronger than those who are doing the pro­duction, so bringing the two of them together is a partner­ship and that is what the CBN is really putting together un­der the Anchors Borrowers Programme (ABP).

“I will commend the CBN for what they are doing and they should continue doing it, there is a lot of problem at the beginning, they should not be discouraged,” he add­ed.

Oba Dokun Thompson, the Oloni of Eti-Oni and the Chairman of Eti-Oni Devel­opment Group, in his view, stated that over the last few years, the nation has had serious security issues and challenges across the coun­try and that experts have also predicted the negative impact this will have on food production, availability and supply in the immediate fu­ture.

“This combined with the recent Covid-19 and its attendant disruption of global economic activities, the Nigerian farmers, most being small holder farmers have also not been spared with little or no capacity for storage facilities or value addition capabilities to boost earnings or increase the life span of their produce before consumption,”

Oba Thompson, who is an international cocoa trader, said that the CBN interven­tion is timely and will not only restore the confidence in the agriculture sector but also help revive morale of farmers.

He said the initiative would possibly help address some of the security issues around lives and properties which can lead to food secu­rity and economic develop­ment because lack of fund­ing is a major challenge in the agriculture sector.

Oba Thompson said that the nation needed home grown solutions and as much as local funding as pos­sible if the nation is ready to develop its agriculture sector.

“The CBN intervention is timely and will not only restore the confidence in the agriculture sector but also help revive morale of farmers and possibly help address some of the secu­rity issues around lives and properties which can lead to food security and economic development because lack of funding is a major challenge in the agriculture sector,” he said.

However, Nurudeen Ti­amiyu, National Vice Pres­ident, Tilapia Aquaculture Developers Association of Nigeria (TADAN) said that it would go the same way of the past initiative except the CBN seeks the participation of the real stakeholders.

He said that so many good initiatives like this have gone down the drain with no im­pact.

Read Original Report Here By Independent

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