• Sunday, May 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Nigeria’s agric investment hits 6-year high 

agriculture

Nigeria’s agricultural sector has attracted its highest level of investments since 2014 on continued government support to the industry.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) capital importation report show that foreign direct investment (FDI) in the agric sector hits $490million (N176.4bn) in 2019, up 69percent from $290million in 2018.

Investments into the sector have grown consistently at an annual average of 82percent within the last six years, BusinessDay’s analysis shows.

“The agric sector has become attractive to investors since the renewed government focus on the sector,” AfricanFarmer Mogaji, head-agribusiness, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said.

“Also, the potentials and opportunities in agribusiness have brought lots of investors into the sector both domestically and foreign,” Mogaji said.

Agriculture which was once neglected had since 2016 became an option for diversification owing to its vast potentials to drive a more sustainable economic growth in Africa’s most populous nation in terms of job creation and revenue diversification.

Owing to this potentials, the government devoted lots of energy to deepening agriculture through the enactment of various policies.

Some of the policies include; the introduction of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), placing a ban on the importation of some agro commodities and the recent shutting down of its land borders.

“The recent policies of the government have made agriculture attractive to investors. We now have new entrants of farmers as a result of these policies,” Abiodun Olorundenro, manager, AquaShoots said.

Despite these policies, fundamental issues in the sector have continued to deter accelerated growth and development.

Experts attributed the slower growth and trade deficit in the sector to the inability of the government to address fundamental issues in agric.

They noted that the country can only drive growth in the sector when agricultural products become highly competitive.

The experts noted that the country must increase its mechanisation scale to meet the ever-increasing demand for food before the country can talk about earning foreign exchange through the sector.

Also, they added that the government must provide the needed infrastructures such as power and motorable roads to drive down production cost, effective and efficient rail transportation linking where the food is produced in the north and markets in the south as well as irrigation facilities to aid all-year farming.

With all this in place, they stated that the country’s agricultural products will be competitive as a result, importation will be discouraged.

“We have increased our crop production of various commodities but the government has still not done anything in addressing fundamental issues. We still do not have sufficient seeds and seedlings, nothing in place to increase mechanisation,” said Abiodun Oyelekan, chief executive officer, Farm Fresh Agric Ventures.

“The only thing the government has done is shifting attention to the agricultural sector. People now want to invest in the sector than before and this is why there is an increase in production,” Oyelekan added.

 

Josephine Okojie