Reviving Agriculture in Nigeria for Successful Export Trading
Nigeria not only has a huge population, but also significant agricultural and forest resources. Its multiple vegetation zones, plentiful rain, surface and underground water, and a moderate climate, allow for the production of diverse food and crops. And the most fascinating aspect is, that over sixty percent of the country’s population is involved in the production of food crops.
The main cash crops are cocoa, cotton, groundnut, oil palm, and rubber. Extractions from these for export and local industrial use include cocoa flour and butter, rubber crumb, vegetable oil, cotton fibre, and yams. The rainforest is exploited for timber and wood products of exotic and common species.
Nevertheless, the agricultural potentials of Nigeria are still barely being tapped into. This explains the inability of the country to meet the ever-increasing demand for agricultural produce. Although the sector remains the dominant employer of labour, more investment is needed across the board to enhance production and to increase the contribution of the sector to the gross domestic product (GDP).
The government has set priority areas of investment, including crop production, food processing and preservation, livestock and fish, agricultural input supplies and machinery, commodity trading and transportation, development and fabrication, and exploitation of timber and wood processing.
The Federal Government has established three multi-commodity development and marketing boards to facilitate marketing, ensure price stability and improve the quality of agricultural produce. These boards are the Nigeria Cocoa Marketing Board, the Nigeria Oil Palm Marketing Board and the Nigeria Cotton Marketing Board. They are responsible for arable crops, tree crops and livestock development, and marketing development, each with a share capital of N500million (approximately US$5million) on behalf of the Nigerian farmers and the private sector generally. These boards will initially take sixty percent of the share capital, while the Federal Government will hold the remaining forty percent in trust, to be down-loaded to the private sector within three to five years.
The Federal Government has, through its agro-industrial policy, set up a regime of fiscal incentives and tariffs. These are designed to improve and expand the domestic production capacities of the various agro-allied industries, to increase the flow of foreign investments into agro-businesses in Nigeria, and to shield existing domestic investment from unfair competition.
These policy strategies show that the procedure for establishing agro-businesses in Nigeria are designed mainly for foreign investors who are interested in establishing agricultural ventures in Nigeria, either alone or in cooperation with local entrepreneurs.
The strategy for production and general handling of commodities must now be export-oriented and commercially interesting, attracting investment, and thereby creating employment opportunities and reducing the level of poverty among Nigerians. The Government has already put in place a National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP).
Generally, with the creation of these three companies, opportunities for the marketing of farm produce will be greatly enhanced. Apart from benefiting Nigeria, this will also facilitate export, even more so with some of the recent developments in the global market.
Ahmad Tanko Aliyu is an intern at M74 from Nigeria. He is a graduate of the Federal University of Technology Minna, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying. Ahmad is a cost estimator, real estate consultant, digital marketer, and research enthusiast.
The views expressed above are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the M74 Group, which remains neutral on all matters. Publishers assume no liability for content.