Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Integrating Green Fiscal Reforms into the Agricultural Transformation Agenda: Panacea for Boosting Soil Enrichment and Water Conservation for Sustainable Food Production in Nigeria

Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Integrating Green Fiscal Reforms into the Agricultural Transformation Agenda: Panacea for Boosting Soil Enrichment and Water Conservation for Sustainable Food Production in Nigeria

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Nigeria had a booming agricultural industry at independence. Groundnut, palm oil, cocoa and cotton were the major focal points of the agricultural export drive that constituted the main stay of the economy. Nigeria has since suffered a decline in the production and loss of her major world market shares in all these commodities. The leading role of controlling groundnut world market share of 42% in 1961 according to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Agricultural Transformation Agenda blueprint (www.unaab.edu.ng/attachments/) has since been eclipsed by China, United States of America and Argentina. The 27% world market share of palm oil has equally been lost to Indonesia and Malaysia while the 18% world market share of cocoa and that of 1.4% share for cotton have equally been lost to Cote d'voire and Ghana for the former and to Mali and Burkina Faso in West Africa for the latter. The advent and exploration of crude petroleum for export played a major role here. The "old faithful" - agriculture was relegated to the background. In addition, were the lack of strong marketing organizations linking farmers to the markets, fertilizers, credit, and rural infrastructure. While these are not in dispute, it can however be asserted that the advent of the "oil rigs" in the landscapes of Nigeria led to the non-proper articulation of how to move the agricultural sector to a more prosperous frontier. The new reality of the economic uncertainty in the oil sector has made the country to start looking back again to agriculture with the floating of a very ambitious development programme termed the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). Execution of this agenda has started with the promotion of twelve commodities in production (i.e. rice, cassava, sorghum, cocoa, cotton, maize, dairy, beef, leather, poultry, oil palm and fisheries) along their value chains. Government has divested itself under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) of the programme from procurement and distribution of fertilizers and other inputs and replaced them with a smart subsidy termed the "e-wallet" approach. Registered farmers under this programme by mere alerts on their mobile phones are connected to the warehouses where they can easily collect their subsidized agricultural inputs. Staple Crops Processing Zones (SCPZs) establishment focused on attracting private sector agribusinesses to set up processing plants in zones of high food production and process commodities into food products are being encouraged. This encouragement is emphasized by government putting appropriate fiscal, investment and infrastructural policies in place. These include tax breaks on imports of agricultural processing equipments, tax holidays for food processors located in these zones and supportive infrastructure in form of roads, logistics, storage facilities, power, flood control facilities, rail lines and airports. These SCPZs are expected to link food producers to the food manufacturers. Some of the world's biggest processing companies are planning to participate in them. Strengthening private sector driven marketing corporations is also another feature in the ATA blueprint. The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) is yet a new innovative mechanism in the ATA targeted at de-risking lending to the agricultural sector and bringing about the interdependence of the agricultural value chain and the agricultural financing value chain. In addition, is the establishment of the Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council (ATIC) that puts the nation's President/Vice President at the helm of affairs with other well meaning individuals from the public and the private sectors as members. This council sits at the apex of the programme while the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) is at the centre stage for coordination. Included in the implementation groups also are the Agricultural Investment Transformation Implementation Group (AITEG), Agricultural Value Chain Implementation Group (AVCTEG), NIRSAL Implementation Group and the Agricultural Industry Advisory Group. …

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