Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have expressed optimism of increased focus on the sector in 2015, and increased productivity in view of the sharp decline in crude oil price and its impact on the nation’s revenue, as well as the expected impact of the agricultural transformation agenda being implemented by the government.
He wants to see agriculture playing a major role in the country’s economy as the oil price continues to fall in the global market.
“I want to say that the agricultural sector should be a major fulcrum for building the economy in 2015. We are all aware that for the past three and half years the current government has been putting in place a number of policies in favour of agriculture and industrialization as a whole.
We are also aware that there is a global problem with the prices of oil in international market, which is affecting the income and economy of the nation. Today, the prices of crude is at its lowest level, now what this means is that the national income is dropping seriously.
Agriculture should naturally come to the rescue. I expect to see more robust programs around crops commodities, for example, I want to see government tackling cocoa production and productivity in 2015.
Today we are exporting about 200, 000 metric tones of cocoa to the world market, Ivory Coast is doing about 1.2 million metric tones, Ghana is doing about 800,000 metric tones and we are doing a mere 200,000 metric tones .
I expect our government to scale up massively on cocoa production and productivity so as to be able to increase our output to the world market. I know we can even double our output to the world market to 400, 000-500,000 metric tones even in one year.
What that means is that it will increase foreign exchange earnings.
I want government to look at rice production too. Now we should go beyond setting up of rice mills to direct production, because it takes a lot of agronomy and technicalities to produce rice and the government needs to do everything possible to see rice massively produced in Nigeria and if possible begin to target the export market for rice.
We have appropriate agronomic condition for rice production and we have natural ecology for rice in Nigeria, I think that government should seriously tap into them.
Government in their bid for import substitution should also drive commodities such as cassava; let us begin to utilize more cassava flour in the flour industry and flour demanding products.
We should go beyond bread, we should take up the usage of cassava up to 50 per, and this will boost our economy.
We should also think of entering the world market for cassava product export. I have always been an advocate of why don’t we compete directly in gums made from cassava. We can do this, it is stronger glue, it is cheaper to produce and we have the comparative advantage in producing cassava which can be put to use in several ways.
There is no reason why we cannot move from our current 41million metric tones of cassava to even a hundred million tones so as to saturate the world market with cassava products.
So, for me in 2015, I need to see government pursuing such policies and issues aggressively next year.
Overall, the government will really need to target several crops commodities, one that will give us some earnings in terms of foreign exchange, an another that will also be available for local consumption and of course others that will limit our dependence on import, like in the case of rice.
We need to really have an aggressive pursuit. We need to be sure that the three tiers work in synergy on agriculture in order to help the national economy to generate employment, to improve our economy base for industrialization. These are what I look forward to see next year.
Idowu Asenuga is the Managing Director of Eriku Farm, Ijebu Igbo, Ogun
Agriculture will dominate the investment direction in the year 2015, with Nigeria’s over dependence on oil and the sharp drop of almost 50% in the price of crude. Government and investors will have no alternative than to deepen their investment in agric business! This trend of super investment that started in the last three years will obviously continue as investors seek investment options for their capital. The year will witness continuous investment in rice, cassava, sorghum, maize and the livestock sector.
Maize production in 2014 (14 million tons) was the highest ever in the history of the country and the price fluctuation of less than 50 pecent witness this year is unprecedented. Maize price has merely fluctuated between 40,000 and 60,000 per ton and government strategic grain reserves are holding the excess production which will create further price stability in 2015.
The federal government has done well through their various initiatives under the Agricultural transformation Agenda (ATA) which if continued in 2015 will surely play a significant role in food production and processing. With the extension of YouWin to the 4th series next year, recently introduced Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) , Staple Crops Processing Zones (SCPZ), Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE), Service Provider Operators (SPO), Rice transformation Agenda and the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) to mention a few, the agric sector is poised to contribute greatly to the GDP growth of the nation and also create hundreds of thousand jobs in 2015. These various programmes would shape the events and activities that will happen during the year and it would form the foundation needed to activate the entire food value chain process.
The livestock sector however, suffered a setback mainly due to the high prices of plant protein ingredients. However expectation for 2015 will be increase in the production of crops like cotton, groundnut and soya beans since the return on investment was more than double in 2014. Therefore, the oil seed processing sector is poised to see increase in their output due to better seed supply. Also the steady growth in the poultry industry will be sustained mainly because of the price stability of feed ingredients and availability of cheaper funds like the CACS and other government interventions.
It is however, expected that the devaluation of the naira, possible further or complete deregulation of the energy sector and the outcome of the elections in February will have significant impact on the sector mostly in the first and second quarter of the year while more of the growth that will be witnessed in the year will be seen in the third and fourth quarter.
Conclusively the general agric business sector will grow in 2015 mostly through new investment and expansion of existing ones. Federal government steady and stable policies in the sector will help shape the anticipated growth and the general returns on investment will be an attraction for future investors in the sector.
Dr. Peter Aikpokpodion
An agriculturist says the
structure put in place by the government under the Agriculture Transformation Agenda will yield results in 2015 as the structural policies have been put on ground to guarantee food security
“I think from what we have seen of the great impact of the activities of the Agriculture Transformational Agenda , which have been significant on the agricultural landscape of the country, I see a better agriculture sector in 2015.
What the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Adesina Akinwumi, has been driving on behalf of the President is structural transformation of what agriculture is and most of what has been done is those things that don’t just give you quick results.
It is structural transformation, if you talk about structural transformation; you are talking about changing the nature, the form and functions of the systems.
It is like you have a Volks car and you change the engine to that of Mercedes Benz, you know the way Benz engine functions will be different from that of Volk. So that is what has been done through the agricultural transformation agenda.
Agriculture is now seen not just as production but as a whole value chain, when you fix the value chain, you are able to produce for a market.
There is an uptake market; you are producing for the market. There is no question of we are producing cassava and no market rather you are producing for a market, according to market needs.
You are sure of a market and because you have a value chain fixed that is why other sectors can support those activities in the industry. The bank can put money to support it, because they are sure the value chain is fixed, so they can guarantee there is an uptake and they can get their money.
That informs why banks have been putting money into supporting fertilizer distribution, putting money to supporting farmers’ organizations, putting money to support aquaculture, cocoa farming, and rice farmers and so on
Now we talk of the processing zones put in place, we now have investors coming up because they can produce and process their produce. That is why you see a company like Olam setting up rice integrated mill, and this is why we now have Made in Nigeria rice.
On the cocoa front, you can see that the market is being stimulated; the quality of our cocoa is rising now because of the market. You can see people coming into the scene.
Same for cassava, you can see many composite flour companies coming up.
These are all the impact of the transformation agenda; this is what I call structural transformation.
Coming from this background of what we have seen, we want to see in 2015 an economy taking advantage of this great improvement to stimulate economic growth and to stimulate greater employment.
We have seen investors like Dangote putting billions into rice production; all this is to create jobs and greater economy for us.
I see in 2015, greater engagement, greater prosperity and more jobs being created because of the foundational work that has been done through ATA.
Prince Wale Oyekoya, the Chairman, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)’s agriculture sector and also the MD/CEO of Bama farms
We should be expecting the three tiers of government getting their acts together because of the current drop in oil price in world market. Agriculture should come to the aid of the economy and so the government needs to give subsides and grants to Nigerian farmers so as to encourage local content.
Right now our oil is in short demand in the world market, so I foresee a very big problem in 2015. All the transformation agenda they are talking about is not working, we cannot see it yet on the table of the average Nigerian.
We need to put more realistic policies in place than having a somersaulted policy, because I foresee a serious shortage of food in 2015.
I don’t see us prepared for this food crisis staring us in the face come 2015. In the first quarter of 2015, we might start feeling the pains.
The only way out is for government to encourage the farmers by providing the basic infrastructure like roads, security and electricity. This why people are not willing to invest in processing as there is no power and security.
There is no way we can attract investors into the sector without electricity and security , who will in invest in food processing when there is no stable power supply?
Ibrahim Abdullahi, Managing Director of Maslaha Seeds.
I will want to see the consolidation of the successes that have been achieved under the Transformation Agenda in all areas of agriculture especially the seed sector.
As we hope that the forthcoming elections will not affect agricultural growth, we want to see the government supporting the agriculture industry the more with a view to ensuring food security and curtail the reliance on food importation.
I will want to see more application of technology in agriculture in 2015 particularly in mechanization, fertilizer application, seeds and tractorization.
This will come to fruition if there is more collaboration between the public and private sectors in research and development.