Categories: Agriculture

Expert urges revisit of Nigeria’s development blueprint for increased agro-productivity, export

By Mercy Omoike

Lagos, Sept.28, 2020 An agriculturalist, Mr Ismail Olawale, on Monday called on the Federal Government to revisit and adoptc the nation’s 1960 and 1970 development blueprints to achieve improved agro-productivity and produce for export.

Olawale, a Fellow of the Nigerian Agriculture and Extension Liaison Service (NAERLS), made this call in an interview with journalists on Monday in Lagos.

He said that revisiting the nation’s development plans of the 1960s and 1970s would help prioritise and reposition the Agriculture Sector.

The expert said this in reference to the present administration’s bid to boost productivity in Agriculture and attain food security in the country.

“The present administration’s policy development goal on improving agricultural productivity, food security and agro-produce export is highly achievable.

“We have achieved this feat before and even after our Independence. Nigeria was producing agriculture produce in excess and we were also into large export of the produce.

“Exportation of agriculture produce pre- and post- early Independence contributed more than 50 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“We had the groundnut pyramids in the North, Palm Oil in the East and Cocoa from the Southwest driving agricultural commerce in the country back then.

“Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was said to have used proceeds of Cocoa exports in the Southwest to build the first skyscraper Cocoa House located in Ibadan.

“This tells us that before and after Nigeria’s Independence, we have been achieving great production outputs in our agriculture sector,” Olawale told Newsmen

The expert said that a revisit to the development plans of the 1960s and 1970s would help prioritise growth in the Agriculture Sector, as was done at that time.

He also called for a price regulatory board that would ensure the regulation of prices of agro-produce and that farmers get viable returns on investment.

“The question we should ask ourselves is: ‘what has gone wrong in recent years?’ Is it that we no longer have plans for agricultural development as a country? Or have we substituted something for agriculture development?

“So many things went wrong after the oil boom which I will not solely blame for the decline in our agricultural productivity.

“When we were getting it right, we had what we called the Agricultural Price and Marketing Board that was controlling the market prices of agriculture produce and livestock in the country.

“At that time, every farmer knew what to expect from what they were producing. However, immediately this system collapsed, we lost track of our productivity levels,” Olawale noted.

In addition, he called for the equipping of local farmers’ capacity to boost their production capacities.

“Some people argue that the poor productivity witnessed in our agriculture sector is because between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of our farmers are still into small scale farming. That argument is not academically sound.

“There are empirical studies all over the world that mechanised farming is not producing up to 20 per cent of the world food production.

“Eighty per cent of global food production is still cultivated by small scale farmers.

“If the government is serious about improving our Agriculture productivity, it should also put structures in place to monitor the crop productivity and quality to make them export worthy,” he said.

Naija247news Media, New York is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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