Consumers preference critical to agricultural development in Nigeria – KUST VC
The professor of Agricultural Economics and Extension, worried that inspite of the huge deposited natural resource, Nigeria is still listed by Food and Agriculture Organisation among nations who are technically incapacitated to meet its food demands.
In the presentation titled ‘Crossing The Chasms of Agricultural Development in Nigeria: consumer Preference Studies, Market Integration Syntheses and Value Chain Diagnoses to the Rescue’, Shehu dissected the clear demarcation between production and meeting consumer preference.
The VC submitted that given the enormous qualities and contributions of agriculture, the sector has not performed as expected essentially in the past four decades due to inadequate supply of inputs and the refusal to pay attention to the food demand, value chain and consumption pattern of consumers.
Professor Shehu contended that Nigeria agricultural policy must pay quality attention to Supply-Response Model which creates smart integration between production, value chain addition and consumers preferences to attain sustainable agriculture and food sufficiency.
The vice chancellor declared that despite policy interventions, the agricultural sector is still largely underdeveloped, principally because substantial concentration is devoted more on production, rather than on enhancing value addition across value chain segments.
Shehu pointed out that FAO prediction also came even when the federal government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) projected Nigeria’s self sufficiency in tomato paste, rice and wheat by 2020; target that was yet to materialise because of the large and continuous dependency on importation.
Besides, he noted that ERGP prediction also emphasised on increase in the value of agricultural production by 31 per cent with tendencies to boost the country’s revenue by N21 trillion by the end of 2020.
While applauding the border closure policy of government, the university administrator cautioned on the possible negative implication of the reopening of the country land borders on local production of products with competitive advantage.
He advocated deployment of technologies in the area of post-harvest and storage facilities to reduce produce damage, especially in the north, just as he called for revamping of extension services to all agricultural clientele groups, as well as improving budgetary allocation to agric sector to improve food sufficiency.