“The success of the new policy [APP] will be driven by the levels of engagement of market place participants, farmers, states, investors, financial institutions, and communities. Other stakeholders from research laboratories to the Nigeria Customs Service to donors will also play vital roles.’’ – Chief Audu Ogbeh, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
The fact that agriculture has taken a back seat in Nigeria throughout the last five decades, until very recently, is not unconnected with the failure of the citizens and successive governments in the country to appreciate and recognize the link between agriculture and other key sectors of the economy like industry, banking, environment, power, energy, and water sectors.
No doubt, there is a clear link between good agricultural practices and environmental sustainability; again enhanced agricultural productivity ensures provision of adequate raw materials for the manufacturing industry. A perfect example of the relationship between agriculture and industry is the West’s industrial revolution which was largely powered by the agricultural sector. Plants and animals are also being used to generate bioenergy which is used to produce renewable electricity, thermal energy, or transportation fuels.
Moreover, just as the banking industry supports the agricultural sector through loans and credit facilities; enhanced agricultural productivity also means more cash for the banks. Again, Nigeria’s vast water resources represent a huge growth potential for the country’s agricultural sector just like efficient agricultural practices will help safeguard and replenish our water bodies like lakes, rivers, dams, and reservoirs.
Furthermore, improper environmental practices in relation to energy and power generation in the form of oil drilling contribute significantly in damaging land and water resources. A perfect example is the oil rich Niger Delta region where drilling activities have polluted the soil and water bodies in the riverine areas. This has grave consequences on crop cultivation and fishing activities in these areas.
Therefore, for the economic diversification agenda of the Federal Government to succeed and for Nigeria to achieve sustainable development, effective synergies must be established between the agricultural sector and all other non-oil sectors of the economy like trade, industry, energy, transport environment as well as water resources.
This is to say as the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) implements its Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) aimed at filling two key gaps in the country’s agricultural sector – its inability to meet domestic food requirements as well as inability to export agricultural products at quality levels required for market success – the ministry must also work closely with relevant ministries to establish links and synergy between the agric sector and relevant sectors of the economy.
For instance, the agric ministry should ensure an effective link and synergy between farmers, the ministry of finance and banking institutions for availability of loans and credit facilities to farmers; it should also ensure a link and synergy between farmers and the ministry of transport for efficient transportation of agricultural commodities within the country and outside of it.
Again, the agric ministry should establish a link between farmers and the ministry of industry, trade and investment to facilitate the smooth export of agricultural products as well as ensure access to raw materials by manufacturing companies and market for the farmers. The ministry should also ensure a link and synergy between farmers and the agribusiness industry for easier and more profitable marketing of agricultural products by farmers.
Furthermore, the ministry of agriculture should also work closely with ministries of environment, petroleum and Niger Delta to ensure environmentally sustainable practices by oil companies in the oil rich Niger Delta region. There is also a need for similar link and synergy with the ministries of water resources and health to ensure access to quality water by farmers and healthy farming practices across the agric value chain, respectively.
Compiled Moving Image Limited
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