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Nigeria’s agric growth slows to lowest in 3yrs

Despite efforts targeted at boosting food production, Nigeria’s agricultural growth has slowed to 1.22 percent in the third quarter of 2021 – the lowest since second quarter of 2018, according to data from the country’s GDP report.

The sector grew by 1.22percent in the third quarter of 2021, lower by 0.17 percent when compared to the corresponding period in 2020 and 0.08percent from the preceding quarter.

Agriculture in Africa’s most populous country contributed 29.9 percent to the country’s total growth recorded for the period, according to the GDP report. Growth in the agriculture sector was driven by output in crop production and forestry.

Stakeholders in the sector have attributed the steady slowed growth to worsening issues of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping that have continued to obstruct farming activities.

They also said that the high cost of key inputs – seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides among others has forced many to cut down on their production areas.

AfricanFarmer Mogaji, chief executive officer, X-Ray Consulting said that slowed growth rate in the sector is due to the government’s inability to address issues that continue to limit production.

He noted that the federal government is yet to resolve insecurity issues that have deterred lots of farmers from farming as many have abandoned their farmlands for safety.

“This is the major reason why food prices are increasing. Look at the price of beans, it has gone up by almost 300percent because Borno is the major producing state and insecurity has crippled farm activities there,” he said.

Read also: COP26: Nigeria, 44 other nations commit to sustainable farming

Agriculture in Africa’s most populous country became an option for diversification owing to its vast potentials to drive a more sustainable economic growth in terms of job creation and revenue diversification when the country entered recession in 2016.

Since then, the sector has helped snap the Nigerian economy out of two consecutive recessions.

Abiodun Olorundenro, manager, Aquashoots said that growth recorded by the sector despite the issues insecurity reaffirms the potential in agriculture to spur growth.

However, he stated that the sector might stop recording growth if the government fails to address issues of insecurity.

He called on the government to provide more incentives to farmers while driving mechanisation and irrigation farming.

“Prices of food are escalating and it is important we drive down cost. To do this farmers must make mechanisation and innovation the centre of farming methods as well as addressing security concerns as it is critical in boosting productivity and maximising cost,” he said.

The average prices of all staple foods across major cities in the country have surged by over 200percent in the last year and are not in any way showing signs of slowing down.

Although the country’s inflation figures in October slowed to 15.99percent, analysts questioned the rate, saying it does not truly reflect market realities.

The country’s poultry industry has come under tremendous pressure over the last 20 months as farmers suffer severe losses owing to the scarcity of grains and escalating prices.

The situation is taking a heavy toll on poultry farmers as many have shut down their farms while others are slaughtering less weighty chickens to deal with the surging price of maize and soybeans – key inputs accounting for most of its feed costs.

Similarly, Suleiman Ladan, lecturer at the Department of Basic and Applied Sciences, Hassan Usman Katsina Polytechnic, Katsina said that the current insecurity situation had significant implications for the country.

“Bandits and kidnapping have made farming almost impossible in major agricultural producing areas,” Ladan said.

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