President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA,Chief Bassey Edem has said that Nigeria’s land area of over 900,000 square kilometres presents huge opportunity to drive agriculture and with a population of over 170 million, the sector is also a potential driver of diversification agenda of the federal government.
He observed that not only there is huge domestic need for agricultural produce, the output from the sector is a primary input for industrialisation globally and within the country.
Edem, who made the observations at an agriculture forum in Lagos pointed out that the sector has the potential to revitalize economic activity through domestic production, saving foreign exchange through import substitution, and earning foreign exchange through exports.
The president who spoke through Asiwaju Olaitan Alabi, the associations national vice president, noted that already with the release of the Nigeria Agricultural Promotion Policy by the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, FMARD, in June this year, a policy framework was unveiled to ensure sustainable growth and development of the agricultural sector.
“However, as the voice of Nigerian Business, we advocate for prioritization of the activities and projects listed in the policy based on available government funds, given the impact of economic recession on the National Budget in terms of funding for capital expenditure”.
“We also advocate for better information dissemination from FMARD especially in the areas of monitoring and tracking, and applaud the National E-Agriculture Web Portal Project initiated by the FMARD,which would go a long way in improving information dissemination in the sector”, Edem stated.
He said the association believed that sustainable growth in the Agricultural sector will be achieved if relevant institutions such as the Agricultural Research Outreach Centers, AROC, Agricultural Research Technology Transfer Centers, ARTTC, and River Basin Authorities are revitalised and empowered.
The president assured of the Organised Private Sector, OPS willingness to partner the FMARD to sustain experimental agricultural projects to demonstrate stakeholder involvement and research results in managing agriculture as outlined by the Nigerian Agricultural Promotion Policy 2016, which he believed would provide empirical data on the aspects of the policy that are more likely to succeed.