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CRIN moves to harness Nigeria’s agricultural potentials towards repositioning country’s economy
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Tue, 21 May 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

Nigeria has arable lands (lands worked, ploughed or tilled) regularly, generally under a system of crop rotation) of about 34 million hectares, as 28.6 million hectares are in pastures and meadows while 6.5 million hectares are suitable for permanent cash crops. Nigeria’s many agricultural potentials are viable to reposition the country’s economy and place the country at lead in Africa’s sustainable agricultural sector.

While natural resources such as oil and gold have caused African economies to grow in leaps and bounds in the last 40 years, these resources are arguably not sustainable. In recent years, precisely 2021, Nigeria’s export value from oil, mineral fuels, and distillation products was 89%, accounting for about $42 billion generated into government coffers as federal revenue while government revenue from cash and food crops for the same period is less than 3%.

However, agriculture remains a sustainable investment that can place Nigeria’s economy on a rising trajectory. Before Nigeria’s overdependence on oil in the mid-70s, more than 70% of the Nigerian population was engaged in agricultural activities. Agriculture generated about 64.1% of the country’s GDP and supplied the food needs of 95% of the people. Exportation of agricultural products accounted for 80% of ForEx earnings at a point and 50% of government revenue.

Statistically, CEOAFRICA gathers that Nigeria is the third-highest producer of groundnut in the world, behind China and the United States; it is the largest producer of soyabean in West and Central Africa also the ninth largest producer of rubber in the world. Following behind Indonesia and Malaysia, Nigeria is the third largest producer of oil palm in the world. Furthermore, Nigeria is the third-highest producer and exporter of cocoa in the world, following after Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. About 95% of Nigeria’s cocoa harvest is exported to the Netherlands and Germany – Nigeria’s two biggest export markets for the crop. The country as well, is reputed to be the third-highest producer of sesame (also known as Benniseed) in the world, coming behind India and China, as it is also said to be the second-largest producer of cashew nuts in the world, generating about 950,000 metric tonnes as at 2013. More than 80% of Nigeria’s cashew harvest are exported overseas, with about 600,000 employed in the cashew business. In Guinea corn production, Nigeria is reputed to be the highest producer of guinea corn (also known as sorghum) in the world – she comes behind the United States in this regard.

Given that a low percentage of the country’s GDP is generated from agriculture in recent years, the government can do more to increase arable farmland and farming operations for national growth. Aside the major cash crops in the agricultural sector, Nigeria has reserves of bitumen, coal, iron ore, barites, gold, and zinc/lead that remain untapped in the extractive/mining sector. Nigeria has the second-largest natural deposit of bitumen in the world – estimated at 42.47 billion tonnes with an estimated earning potential of $7 billion.

As such, the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan, Oyo State, under the leadership of the Executive Director, Dr. Patrick Adebola, is taking drastic steps to further attract foreign investors and introduce production innovations than ever before. This is to further the moves of repositioning the country’s economy through sustainable agriculture.

With her recent activities from inhouse training and workshop reported by CEOAFRICA, and her coming international summit coinciding with her 60years anniversary and RIGAN games, the institute looks forward to more collaborations with stakeholders and partners in agricultural research and implementation to work assiduously in making cash crops a major government revenue generator to the end of transforming the nation’s economy.

CEOAFRICA therefore, presents possible ways of government support on CRIN’s efforts to reposition Nigeria’s economy with cash crop production:

1. Exportation of crops and expansion of the crops for the development of local market.

2. Huge attraction to farming: Making farming attractive again will encourage subsistence and commercial farming, thereby contribution to the country’s economic growth. Specifically, the government should offer great agricultural incentives and farming grants to lure youths into farming. This will guarantee food security and boost employment opportunities in the country.

3. Diversify the economy: The government must prioritize the manufacturing, extraction (farming, mining, and fishing, etc.), and construction industries to spread its streams of federal revenues.

4. Foreign investors should also be attracted to take up mining operations and agricultural activities in the country. These investors would invariably bring their expertise and technologies to boost crop production and reposition government revenues over time.

5. The government should be open to various ways to boost the national growth of agro-allied industries as well.

On its part, at the international summit slated for December 2024, CRIN will host governors of cash crop producing states to the end of major collaboration towards repositioning their state and federal economies through agriculture. Through her scientific and technological innovations, enhanced farming techniques and improved crop yields as well as government support and foreign aids, CRIN will in no time, place Nigeria on top of Africa in the areas of cash crop production and the agricultural sector at large.

 

 

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