By NAOMI UZOR
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has expressed concern that issues of food sufficiency and security are yet to be addressed in Nigeria.
NACCIMA also stated that various strategies and initiatives of Governments at all levels to transform agriculture and agribusiness, improve productivity in output and investment in the sector have not yielded the desired results.
The Association said the agricultural sector is bedeviled by very low productivity, profitability and competitiveness, insufficient food for local consumption and absence of food security, using FAO standards.
The National President of NACCIMA, Mr. Ademola Ajayi, who made this statement at the official opening ceremony of the 51st annual conference, added that to effectively transform the sector and restore its lost glory as the major foreign exchange earner of the economy, we wish to suggest that Governments at all levels should continue to work as partners with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and Chambers of Commerce to improve production yield and boost real income revenue of farmers/government.
“We also recommend that Government should, in the short and medium term period, give priority attention to the promotion of Agribusiness such that the value chain arising there-from would invariably make it capable of generating employment for over 10 Million productive labour force in the areas of land preparation, planting, protection, preservation, processing, and packaging (6Ps).
“Furthermore, deliberate policy should be adopted by Government on children nutritional standards starting with the implementation of the programme of compulsory “free one nutritional meal per day” at the pre- and primary school levels in the country. Young people will become healthier and excited about going to school where boiled eggs, beans, milk, margarine with bread, etc are served free of charge” he said.
He noted that there is need for Nigeria to align with current global trend by refocusing and re-strategising through diversification of her economic base away from oil to non-oil products. This is the key needed for ensuring the successful growth and development of the Nigerian economy and for actualising her Transformation and Vision 20:2020 Agenda, so as to remain globally relevant economically, politically and socially.
“Towards boosting non-oil sector activities in the country to make the sector vibrant in terms of exportable products and revenue generation, there is need for Government to remove all forms of levies and taxes imposed on some exports products, especially on Agricultural exports to make such exports competitive in the global market place; overhaul the entire process of the existing export incentive regime for efficiency, including introducing new industrial incentives; effectively carry along the Organized Private Sectors (OPS) on all her exports and export-related policies/activities in the country through a sustainable Public-Private Sector Partnership (PPP) arrangement; and ensure appropriate standardization of export products, especially, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues for Agricultural produce” he stated.