The Federal Government has been called upon to promulgate government agricultural policies that will direct all tiers of government, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to promote agricultural anchor groups throughout the country.
This call was made by the executive chairman, Bemola Group, Dr Olukorede Odeniyi, while delivering a lecture titled “Eradicating hunger and unemployment in Nigeria and Africa at large” at the inauguration of the Oyo State chapter of the Association of Grain Processors and Allied Produce of Nigeria (AGPAN) held at the Federal College of Agriculture, Moor Plantation, Apata, Ibadan.
Odeniyi said for Nigeria to see a boost in agriculture, all tiers of government must be ready to wield their weight to the cause of agriculture development in Nigeria.
His words, “The Federal Government should promulgate serious policies directing all tiers of government; inclusive of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to take agriculture seriously in promoting agricultural anchor groups nationwide such as Association of Grain Processors and Allied Produce Farmers of Nigeria and others to boost farm products in order to produce sufficient food on Nigerian tables, and eradicate poverty, hunger, and reducing unemployment in the land.”
He added that Nigeria as a country must be ready to increase its budgetary allocation to agriculture to 10 percent from its current 1.47 per cent as at 2014.
“Over the years, the Federal Government has fallen short of its 2003 Maputo commitment to invest at least 10 per cent of its federal budget in agriculture.
“Despite Nigeria being a leader in the African Union’s comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), the regional agricultural policy for West Africa (ECOWAP) and having its own national Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), publicly available data from experts in and outside Nigeria shows that public investments in the agricultural sector have been trending towards zero. According to the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTs), Nigeria’s agriculture budget has plummeted from 6.2 percent of the federal budget in 2009 to 1.48 per cent in 2014.
“The paradox that dwindling government financing commitments to supporting domestic agricultural production and the alarming cost of four food imports are demanding approximately 20 percent of the federal budget, requires quick resolution.
This trend undermines the goals of the ATA to significantly increase agricultural production, reduce food imports and create 3.5 million jobs by 2018.