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…poor irrigation system, setback to agriculture in Nigeria

By Providence Ayanfeoluwa

The dysfunctional Foreign Exchange, Forex System in Nigeria is disrupting all sectors of the economy but have adverse effect on agricultural sector where almost all technologies and inputs are imported.

Also, poor irrigation system on the part of the government is a setback to agriculture in the country, said Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, Dr Muda Yusuf.

He said these while delivering a lecture at the 38th Annual Omolayole Management Lecture with the theme: Sustainable Development Of The Agricultural Sector For National Well-Being”, even as he explained that out of the estimated three million hectares of land which should be under irrigation in Nigeria only 200 thousand hectares are irrigated which is about 2.7 percent.

He lamented: ‘You can see where the setback for agriculture is coming from? All the lands that are supposed to be irrigated are not, so farmers have to wait for rainy season to go to farm. Irrigation is not easy for the farmers to provide, it is the government that can provide irrigation system and infrastructure because they are expensive. Irrigation is mainly in the northern part of the country instead of nationwide so that farmers can grow food all year round.”

Continued, Yusuf said that favourable policy environment is the key needed to address the issue of macroeconomic environment,  exchange and inflation rates, which are having very serious and adverse effect on agriculture just as it is affecting other sectors because the country import a lot in terms of input, tractors, hydo-chemicals, drones among others. 

Yusuf said: “A lot is happening in the agric space but these technologies are imported, so if we continue to have a foreign exchange system that is completely dysfunctional it is going to disrupt a whole lot of things just like we are beginning to witness. The foreign exchange system is disrupting drastically all sectors of this economy because there is no way you can stand alone completely, you need one thing or the other to import.

“Sometimes we also need foreign investors. With the current foreign exchange policy in this country, foreign investors would not come into this economy. We need to address policy issues around macroeconomic environment for the benefit of agric, manufacturing and all sectors of the economy that is very critical.

Earlier in his opening remark, Chairman of event and President, Nigeria Employers Consultative Forum Association, NECA, Mr Taiwo Adeniyi, said that agriculture remain a critical and fundamental sector in the development of a nation despite recent upsurge in banditry in the north and some other areas, which has created impediment for farmers going to farm and harvesting their crops.

Adeniyi said: “The importance of agric to allied field as a people has been further brought to the fore. With the Russian war on Ukrain which has further brought a bridge and disruption in the supply chain of critical agricultural produce, especially wheat, the need for a sustainable policy on agriculture has become more critical to the world at large. While government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has taken some steps towards the development of agriculture through the anchor borrower scheme and a backward integration program, more is needed to be done, to ensure food security.”

 In her welcome remark, President, International Association of Students in Economics and Commercial Sciences, AIESEC Alumni Nigeria, AAN, Mrs. Olubunmi Abejirin, said the theme was timely as agriculture remains a fundamental and critical sector in the development of a nation, saying that there is a need to start conversations on our preparedness for the looming food crisis and strategize on how to feed Nigeria’s 200 million people. 

Abejirin “More than ever, the decisions that policymakers and stakeholders in the entire food value chain make will have long-term consequences for the future of the world’s food systems and significantly impact national food security initiatives.”

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