By Kenneth Afor
Stakeholders in the agriculture sector want the federal government and African leaders to channel their agricultural policies towards the current trend in agricultural practices in other to leverage on the huge economic value embedded in the continent’s agricultural sector.
They made this known in Lagos at the ongoing West Africa agribusiness show on the theme, ‘Accelerating Food Revolution in Africa.’
According to Ayoola Olukanni, director-general, Nigerian Association of Chamber, Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) a different approach to agriculture must be conceived in other for the sector to start yielding the desired result adding that the private sector must take its role as the driver in boosting economic growth in the agricultural value chain.
“The orientation of agriculture as subsistent farming is no longer what it is now. As far as the West African agribusiness initiative is concerned, we must think of how the private sector plays its own role in this area.
“The perspective of agriculture as a business is key to enhancing the sector. It is also important that we begin to lay emphasis on value addition, to spur youths into the venture”
For this to be achievable, the government being one of the key elements in fostering the growth of agriculture must be actively involved in partnering with those in the private sector at all times and ensure that policies to formulated will enhance more profitable agriculture ecosystem for all.
“As a government, our agenda is to guarantee the vibrancy of the sector which must be seen as a business and a safe haven for investment.
“We are committed to promoting partnerships to advance the present level of trade and investment as a veritable strategy for diversification,” said Akeredolu Olayinka who represented the minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono.
Currently in Nigeria, about 80 percent of smallholder farmers produce a larger percentage of the food consumed in the country and less than half of these farmers do not have a better means of livelihood due to the unhealthy policies on agriculture.
They are faced with the burden of sourcing for adequate funds and lack of access to technology that will be used to execute virtually all farming activities such as pre-planting, planting and harvesting.
According to the stakeholders they want the government to channel investment directly to the farmers and that such investment should address each of the various strata of the agriculture value chain.