Agriculture Promotion Policy (2016-2020): Investment key to actualisation

The Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) said that attracting investments into various commodity value chains was key to actualising the objectives of the Agriculture Promotion Policy (2016-2020).
Dr Chijioke Osuji, NIFST national president, in a statement on Sunday said that the policy would drive the commodity value chains forward.
The Federal Government recently released an agricultural policy document titled :The Agriculture Promotion Policy for 2016 to 2020 also known as The Green Alternative.
Under the policy, government plans to consolidate on the gains of Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) and further promote the value chains of agriculture in the country.
One major feature of this policy is that the government intends to attract more investment opportunities into the agricultural sector in the country.
“It is already known that investments that promote post-harvest business opportunities also drive the agriculture value chains forward by creating take-off opportunities for the producers.
“It will also ensure that the farmers get good returns from their operations.
“It also implies, therefore, that a lot of investments should be directed toward food processing business development and food product marketing,’’ he said.
Osuji said that such investments would be more effective in job creation, expansion of the value chains in addition to the production of value added products.
He said that it would also be beneficial as government would earn foreign exchange from the farm produce that would be exported.
Osuji urged food scientists and technologists to be abreast of the roles they needed to play to ensure the success of some of the objectives of the new policy.
“We are in possession of the scientific knowledge required for the conversion of raw agriculture produce into value-added-food products also for preservation, storage, packaging and handling.
“Our major way of supporting government’s latest agricultural policy appears is by providing the required knowledge base to drive the value chains forward.
“The successful accomplishment of this task will be most visible in the synergy we can forge with investors,’‘ he said.
According to the NIFST national president, most investors will not be food scientists and technologists, but investors will need their knowledge base for research results and applications.
Osuji listed other knowledge needs as: recipe formulation, food safety controls, food quality management and process yield as well as performance and optimisation.
He said that without the provision of these capabilities, the food value chains cannot operate profitably.
He, therefore, urged government to demonstrate the political will required for the successful implementation of this policy after its final approval.