By Onzuore Dania
The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta, PIND and Market Development in the Niger Delta, MADE, Programme have identified strategic policy initiatives in agriculture to address the current economic challenges confronting Nigeria, create employment and boost industrialization.
In the joint report launched in Abuja, the development partners showcased the impact of the devaluation of the naira and stressed the need for government and international organisations with a focus on agriculture to reshape interventions to reflect the prevailing economic realities, especially relating to aquaculture, poultry, palm oil and cassava sectors.
The report said: “The devaluation of the Naira was occasioned by the drop in crude oil price from above $100 per barrel in early 2014 to below $30 per barrel, and has influenced market dynamics for most farmers and agricultural market actors, especially in the Niger Delta region where PIND and MADE are intervening.
“The devaluation has led to significant increases in costs of major inputs over the last two years which influence costs across all the value chains, forcing farmers and processors to look inward.”
In the aquaculture value chain, for example, the report observed that, “Catfish prices have increased, as consumers turn to it as an alternative to more expensive imported fish and poultry, meaning that the farmers who have stayed in business have seen their revenues increase.”
“Additionally, the currency devaluation has made foreign feed more expensive, creating an opportunity for local producers to meet demand.”
Also in the Cassava value chain, the study noted that the increase in the prices that market actors in the Niger Delta receive for their products is higher than the increase in input prices, meaning that the Naira’s devaluation has been positive for most market actors.
The report also explains that demand for cassava from the food sector has increased as the price of imported rice, a major substitute for cassava food products, more than doubled between 2015 and the beginning of 2017, while rice imports have dropped by about two million tons since the devaluation.
“ Even with the increased industrial demand, the price for cassava on the food market is still higher than on the industrial market, leading producers and processors to allocate even more cassava to producing cassava derivatives for the food market.”