For Nigeria to be turned into the food basket of Africa, there must be a fundamental shift from present disposition, to what is obtainable, sustainable and best international practices, by seeing agriculture as a business and not as a development programme.
This must form the basis for total reformation in the country’s agricultural system, which must be structured, financed and developed as a business, to fully unlock the potentials of making Nigeria the food basket of the world.
Prof. Wilfred Ifeanyi Okonkwo, of the Department of Agricultural and Bioresources Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, stated this at a pre-convocation lecture of the Kaduna State Polytechnic and Diamond Jubilee ceremonies, with the theme: “Agricultural Reforms: A Panacea For Diversification Of Nigeria Economy.”
He noted that: “Our major objective of agricultural reformation should be improvement on the already existing and innovation into the production system, in conformity with international standard best practices for the overall interest of the economy.
“Sound and implementable reformations are a must for sustainable economic growth of our nation. For more than four decades, the Nigerian economy has mostly depended on proceeds from the sale of crude oil. This is at the expense of other sectors such as agriculture that hitherto, contributed significantly to the economy of Nigeria.”
Okonkwo, who disclosed that agriculture has the potential of contributing immensely to the economy, said: “Most importantly, it could help alleviate the problems associated with “enclave” nature of the Nigerian economy that has for too long being vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil prices. To realise these potentials, there is need for holistic overhauling of the existing agricultural development policies.
“Many have documented government policies and programmes aimed towards agricultural development in Nigeria. These include the pre-independence policies and Post-independence policies and programmes by indigenous Nigerian government.”