Revised Agricultural Promotion Policy to tackle high food imports– FG

Agriculture water spray

The Federal Government on Wednesday said that the new “Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP),’’ would tackle issues associated with high food imports and limited foreign exchange earnings.

The refreshed Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) was designed to last from 2016 to 2020.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural development,Chief Audu Ogbeh made this known in a Policy and Strategy Document

It can be recalled that from 2010 – 2011, the Federal Government had implemented the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA), targeted at supporting businesses related to agriculture.

The main priority of the policy was to “restart the clock’’ and reintroduce Nigeria to sustainable agriculture centred on business-like attitude driven by the private sector.

Ogbeh said APP will build on the successes of the ATA to transit Nigeria to a new plane in agribusiness performance.

“The ATA was an important step towards rediscovering agriculture.  As a result, many companies, individuals and donors are now keen to invest in Nigerian Agriculture once again.

“However, ATA faced challenges and did not deliver on all the targets identified e.g. Nigeria still imports billion dollars worth of food annually, especially wheat, fish, rice and sundry items including fresh fruits.

“As a result, Nigeria is not food secure.

“Wastage levels remain high in production areas. Today, as we evaluate the progress made under the ATA, it is apparent that additional work is still required in order to meet our objectives,’’ he said.

The minister said the proposed policy will focus on food security, import substitution, job creation and economic diversification.

Ogbeh said the policy would also concentrate on closing the demand-supply gaps between crops and livestock production.

To execute the strategy, he said, FMARD would prioritise improving productivity into crops like rice, wheat, maize, fish (aquaculture), dairy milk, soya beans, poultry, horticulture (fruits and vegetables) and sugar.

Ogbeh added that the ministry would also prioritise for exports market the production of cowpea, cocoa, cashew, cassava, ginger, sesame, oil palm, yams, horticulture, beef and cotton.

“The Federal Government wants to grow integrated Agriculture sector, so it would grow from three per cent – six per cent in 2011 to 2015 to six per cent- 12 per cent in 2017.

“The target is for agriculture household income to double in six to 12 years with a Gross Domestic Product reaching 23 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.

“We also target Agriculture’s share of the labour force reaching 70 per cent.’’

The minister stressed that FMARD would evolve itself to become a more focused policy maker and regulator to ensure accountability for results.

He said the ministry would also work closely with states and other federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) like Power, Transportation and Trade