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Agriculture as a Priority Is Nigeria’s Hope

  • Date Submitted: 02/13/2013 05:11 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.9 
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AGRICULTURE AS A PRIORITY IS OUR HOPE
“The budget of any nation, especially a developing nation such as ours, is the next important instrument of governance after the Constitution. It reflects government's priorities in the various sectors while also showcasing government's values and reward systems. It is the budget that government utilises in encouraging or discouraging growth as well as in improving the welfare of its citizenry.”
- Hussaini Abdu PhD (Country Director, ActionAid, Nigeria)
Dr. Abdu could not have written truer words- “... a nation’s budget reflects its government’s priorities in various sectors...” No wonder Africa’s Head of States and Governments during the Second Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union in July 10th-12th, 2003 pledged to allocate 10% of their national budget to Agriculture. This was agreed upon seeing that 30 percent of the African population was chronically and severely undernourished and that the Continent has become a net importer of food; and that it was the largest recipient of food aid in the world.

Despite being blessed with arable land, Nigeria spends N1.2 trillion annually on Food importations as stated by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina which is saddening, considering that different types of crops suitable for adequate diet grow in Nigeria. In fact, there are other crops from other countries that can thrive here which are yet to be incorporated.

Take rice for instance, Nigeria is the largest importer in the world and as shown by BusinessDay analysis of data from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the country spends N356.6billion naira annually on its importation which is quite ludicrous because we have veteran rice farmers in the nation whom if empowered are capable of providing the amount of rice required to feed the populace. I had the opportunity to be part of an exercise carried out by HEDA Resource Centre to know what ails the small scale farmers of Lagos State...

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