Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has said that Nigeria will save $50 billion annually if there was a policy to protect local agricultural production.
NACCIMA, in a communiqué issued during its 55th Annual General Meeting tagged: “Policy Consistency in Agricultural Value Chain: A Key to Socio Economic Development,” said “This will save the scarce foreign exchange expended on importation of food, estimated at over USD50 billion annually. There should also be a deliberate policy for the protection of local investors against dumping.
“Nigeria however, remains a net importer of food largely because of the small scale nature of agricultural operations, with limited innovation regarding inputs, harvesting, processing, distribution and access to markets.
“Recognised that the country has a substantial base to build upon which includes its natural assets including land (39.6m hectares of arable land, of which 60 per cent is under cultivation), climate and rainfall, its coastal areas, and its history as an agrarian economy.
“There is also the need for a committee of relevant stakeholders to agree and develop a strategic roadmap for agricultural development that can outlive successive governments. This is to avoid policy somersault in the event of change of government.
“Government should facilitate access to affordable financing and develop/or facilitate the development of infrastructure that support and enhance agricultural production and profitability.
“These include construction and/or maintenance of rural or feeder roads, facilitation of transportation services, and ensuring that funding gets to the right farmers/quarters.
“A situation where cattle rearers graze their animals through cultivated farms unchallenged will continue to dissuade investment in farming. Grazing fields should be delineated by government and animals rearing restricted to such fields to prevent clashes, conflicts and deaths.
“Government should intensify efforts towards developing one local government one product policy to encourage even development of all states and ensure even development of the agricultural sector.
“There is an urgent need for improvements in productivity through access to improved seeds, fertilizers, water management techniques, equipment, financing, storage facilities and markets. Use of rudimentary technology for cultivation, harvesting and processing increase overall production costs.”