Overhauling Nigeria’s agricultural sector to a point of self-sufficiency will require more than creating an enabling environment but ensuring a full development of the different value chain, Kayode Fayemi Ekiti state governor has said.
He said the development of individual chains from planting to processing and marketing must be used as a viable tool to drive higher youth participation in agriculture.
The special guest of honour at the 5th annual Agra Innovate West Africa, however, noted that the government must stay alive to its role of being an enabler, provider of financial incentive, tax rebate, seedling support, provide general climate for ensuring that when the farmers, it can be aggregated and taken to the market.
According to him, the state hit N2.7 billion in terms of internally generated revenue in the first half 2018 but could be doubled with the renewed commitment to improve its agricultural sector.
“It is not the place of government to get into agri-business. Our responsibility is to create the enabling environment for those who want to play in the sector. First, by assisting them with land clearing; Ekiti is a place where you have heavily forested land and average investors don’t have the resources to clear the land. Second is to ensure that ensure that the necessary incentives for farmers to grow the land are provided not just in terms of land clearing but also in terms of land availability,” he said.
Michel Deelen, head of Netherlands Representation Lagos said the Netherlands being the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world will lend hands to Nigeria mechanization and modernisation of agric activities.
“We would really like to work with Nigeria as a partner to transfer technology and knowledge especially in the sector of horticulture. The exhibition gives example on how you can improve on mechanization. It can be done in Nigeria with the right training and technology, production and yields can increase,” Deelen explained.