Agricultural Transformation And National Development Nigeria: Challenges And Prospects
1.1. Background to the study
Agriculture continues to be the most important sector of the Nigerian economy, in spite of the dominance of petroleum sector. It remains the largest contributor to the growth and development of Nigerian economy (Agbolahanet. al., 2010; Umar, 2010; Abu et. al., 2011) accounting for over 38% of the non-oil foreign exchange earnings and employing about 70% of the active labour force of the population (Izuchukwu, 2011). Agricultural GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.9% in 1990-98 to 5.5% in 1999, 6.1% and 6.5% in 2004 and 2005 respectively, while output increased at a steady rate of 5.7% from the first half of 2009 to 2010 (NPC, 2010).
Nigeria‟s food imports are growing at an unsustainable rate of 11% per annum therefore; relying on the import of expensive food on global markets fuels domestic inflation as excessive imports continues to put high pressure on the Naira and hurting the economy. Nigeria is importing what it can produce in abundance. Import dependency is also hurting Nigerian farmers, displacing local production and creating rising unemployment. This has made import dependency neither acceptable, nor sustainable fiscally, economically or politically (Akinwumi, 2012).
Nigeria government has come up with various poverty reduction plans aimed at reducing the level of poverty from 70% to 35% by 2015 using various poverty reduction plans amongst which includes “The National Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), National Fadama Projects and recently Agricultural Transformation
Agenda.To make Nigeria an agriculturally industrialized economy” agriculture must be treated as a business. Also, it is important to Integrate food production, storage, food processing and industrial manufacturing by value chains („farm to fork‟); Focusing on value chains where Nigeria has comparative advantage and using agriculture to create jobs, wealth and ensure food security Investment-driven strategic partnerships with the private sector investment drives to unlock potential of the country in agriculture (Akinwumi, 2012).
Also, the National Economic Transformation Agenda whose aim is to diversify the economy from reliance on oil, assure food security and create jobs, especially for the youth was instituted. In line with this, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is implementing an agricultural transformation that is expected to promote agribusiness, attract private sector investment in agriculture, reduce post-harvest losses, add value to local agricultural produce, develop rural infrastructure and enhance access of farmers to financial services and markets. The programme was expected to create over 3.5 million jobs along the value chains of the priority crops of rice, sorghum, cassava, horticulture, cotton, cocoa, oil palm, livestock, fisheries, etc. for Nigeria‟s teeming youths and women, in particular. The expected impact of the Agricultural Transformation Support Program is to contribute to the private sector-led agricultural growth for food security, creation of jobs and shared wealth. Its specific objective is to increase, on a sustainable basis, the income of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs that are engaged in the production, processing, storage and marketing of the priority commodity value chains. In a nut shell, agricultural transformation aims to improve agricultural production, productivity and reduce poverty (Akinwumi, 2012).
The resent Agricultural transformation by the Federal government has been implemented in four Staple Crops Processing Zones (SCPZs) of Adani-Omor, Bida- Badeggi, Kano-Jigawa, Kebbi-Sokoto and cover 21 LGAs in seven States: Anambra (Ogbaru and Orumba North LGAs), Enugu (UzoUwani LGA); Jigawa (Hadejia LGA); Kano (Bunkure, Kura and Rano LGAs); Kebbi (Argungu, Bagudo, BirninKebbi, Dandi, Ngaski, Shanga and Suru LGAs); Niger (Agaie, Gbako, Lapai, Lavun, Katcha and Mokwa LGAs); and Sokoto (Kware LGA).
1.2 Problem Statement.
In Nigeria, agriculture is a robust alternative for stimulating economic growth, overcoming rural poverty and enhancing food security as well as achieving sustainable development (world Bank, 2008; Sunday et.,al, 2009; Sunday et.,al, 2010; CBN statistical bulletin 2010). Wanyamaet.,al, (2009) observed thatagricultural productivity in the Sub Saharan Africa and Nigeria declined over the last decades and poverty levels have increased. Currently, agricultural productivity growth and development in the country are far behind that of other regions in the world, and is well below that which is required to achieve food security and poverty reduction goals in the country. Many farmers in the Sub-Sahara African countries Nigeria inclusive are facing declining crop yields, which have adverse effect on the region‟s economic growth. A prominent constraint to higher productivity among farmers is the “soil infertility” related mainly to the low nutrient status of the soils and continuous cultivation without planned replenishment of the depleted soil nutrients. Most of the farmers only have minimum access to production inputs and improved facilities (USAID,2009). According to Fadama Development Project Appraisal Report (FDP, 2005) the farming systems in the rural areas are predominantly based on subsistence agriculture. The use of inputs such
as fertilizer, improved seed, and mechanization is low. The country is currently preoccupied with the challenge of diversifying the structure of its economy. Like in many rich and poor countries, the issue of poverty and well-being has been of great concern.
Omonona, (2009) noted that the poverty situation in Nigeria has been deteriorating Since the 1980s although the country is rich in human and material resources that should translate into better living standards. Adeolue.t al,(2004) noted thatincomes and productivity in rural areas are low; hence the rural population has continue to remain poor. Smallholder agriculture, the dominant occupation in rural Nigeria, is mainly characterized by inadequate capital and low productivity. USAID (2011),IFAD (2009) and Cadoni and Angelucci,(2013) reported that most rice farmers in Nigeria are smallholders (90 percent of total), applying low input strategy to agriculture, resulting in low output hence Nigeria rice productivity is among the lowest within neighbouring countries, with average yields of 1.51 tonne/ha. Although, Nigeria is the largest rice producing country in West Africa, it is also the Second largest importer of rice in the World.
There are evidences that several development initiatives have been initiated by past government; different policies and structural programmes have been implemented in a bid to overcome poverty in Nigeria between 1977 till date. Among questions often asked and for which answers are beginning sought are: If the various initiatives really work? And how much impact do they have? In spite of the fact that some past studies have tried to address these questions, their “evaluations” only provide qualitative insights and do not assess outcomes against explicit and policy relevant counterfactuals
which are now widely seen as unsatisfactory (Ravallion, 2005). It is against this study seeks to investigate agricultural transformation and national development in Nigeria: Challenges And Prospect.
1.3 Research Question
The researcher poised the following research questions;
1. What are the personal characteristics of the respondents in the study area?
2. What are the factors that affect respondents’Opinion on the contribution of Agricultural Transformation Agenda to their rice production?
3. what the impacts of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda on their rice production?
4. what are the the effect of agricultural transformation on productivity?
5. What are the Constraints facing agricultural transformation in Nigeria?
1,4 Aims and Objectives of the Study
The main thrust of this study is to investigate the Agricultural Transformation And National Development in Nigeria, its Challenges And Prospects.
The specific Objectives are
1. Describe the personal characteristics of the respondents in the study area;
2. Identify the factors that affect respondents’Opinion on the contribution of Agricultural Transformation Agenda to their rice production
3. determine the impacts of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda on their rice production
4. determinethe the effect of agricultural transformation on productivity
5. investigate the Constraints facing agricultural transformation in Nigeria
Scientists, research administrators and policy makers face increasing pressure to justify continued public investment in agricultural projects. As demands proliferate for scarce government funds, better evidence is needed to show that agricultural projects generates attractive rates of return compared to alternative investment opportunities. The result has been an upsurge in studies, seeking credible ex ante estimates of the expected benefits of current and proposed programs of research and ex post estimates of benefits from previously performed projects. Ex ante or ex post estimates of the impact of increased agricultural productivity on poverty are not easy to quantify as they depend on many factors. There may be effects on labor if increased productivity affects labor demand, which in turn may affect both on-farm and off-farm wages.Considering these factors as a whole, there is a general consensus within agricultural economics that agricultural productivity growth drives pro-poor growth, benefiting poor farmers and landless laborers by increasing both production and employment.
1.6 Literature Review
Agriculture continues to play a dominant role in economic development. Agriculture is the basic foundation of any industrial economic revolution in that, aside providing for the food needs of man, it supplies the raw materials that are inputs in the production process. The World Development Report (2013), Agricultural growth was the precursor to the industrial revolution that spread across the temperate world, from England in the mid-18th century to japan in the late 19th century. The report also noted that the recent rapid agricultural growth in countries like China, India and Vietnam as the precursor to the rise of industry. In countries where agricultural activity is at an increasing level, it generates taxable surplus that compliments government revenue. It is then no doubt to say that in many developed countries of the world, agriculture stood as the foundation for their development.
In the African circle, agriculture holds a great potential to serve as an engine of faster growth and poverty reduction in the region. This is because Africa is blessed with cultivable land, huge population and favorable climate which when fully utilized can plunge most of the countries on the pedestal of economic growth and development. A fact sheet published by the International Food Policy Research Institute in 2009 revealed that , ‘in most African countries, agriculture is the engine of economic growth, and agricultural growth is the corner stone of poverty reduction. Approximately sixty-five percent of Africans rely on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood. Small scale farmers are responsible for more than ninety percent of Africa’s agricultural production’. In the contemporary, agriculture accounts for 30 to 40 percent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and almost 60 percent of its total export earnings. Agricultural sector has no doubt contributed to the economic growth and development witnessed in Africa today. This was put in retrospect by Fan (2009), stating that agricultural growth rates have increased modestly from about 2.4 percent a year in 1980-1989 to 2.7 percent in1990-1999 and 3.3 percent a year since 2000. This is impressively outstanding and factual to note that the level of growth in agricultural productivity increased in response to the level of government expenditure in the sector.
Nigeria is obviously not left out of the statistics; agriculture remained a dominant aspect of the Nigerian economy, though it has experienced a worsened decline in the wake of crude oil. Prior to the discovery and subsequent exploration of crude oil in the seventies, agriculture gave Nigeria a pride of place among the committees of Nation. In spite of the growing importance of crude oil, Nigeria has remained essentially an agrarian economy, with agriculture still accounting for shares in the GDP and total exports as well as employing the bulk of the labor force (Talabi, 2014). The agricultural productivity and contributions to national economic growth has been on the decline. Available data shows that agriculture which contributed over 60 percent of the GDP in 1960 was contributing about 25 percent between 1975 and 1979
The study applied both primary and secondary methods of data. The primary data were specifically sought through structured questionnaire and oral interview while the secondary data where gotten from newspaper, journal articles, unpublish and publish scholar works and relevant internet source.