• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria’s agric investment slows over worsening insecurity

Nigeria’s agric investment falls 83% to $10m in Q2

The total capital importation into the agricultural sector has slowed over the worsening state of insecurity in the country.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) capital importation report shows that $ 366.07 million (152.3 billion) of capital was imported into the agricultural in 2021, up 12.7 percent from $324.58 million in 2020.

Before 2020, investments into the sector have grown consistently at an annual average of 82percent yearly but declined in 2020 owing to pandemic induced supply chain disruption and slowed in 2021, BusinessDay’s analysis shows.

“Agric sector will continue to attract less investment if we fail to address the insecurity issues in the country,” said Ibrahim Kabiru, national president of All Farmers Association of Nigeria.

“Farmers should be able to carry out their farming activities without any form of fear and harvest without having to pay bandits. These are crucial in attracting investments into the sector,” he added.

Since the security situation became intense a few years ago, agricultural activities have been greatly impacted as farmers in Africa’s most populous country had to abandon their farmlands owing to escalating issues of kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism in major crops-producing states.

As a result, growth in the agricultural sector has been inconsistent and constantly slowing since the third quarter of 2016 over worsening insecurity issues.

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The fourth-quarter figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that growth in the sector grew by 2.13percent in 2021. The sector has been growing at an average of 2 percent in the last eight years, below the 2.7 population growth rate.

Africa’s most populous country has been unable to drive sustained growth and generates substantial FX through the sector despite its potential owing to the government’s inability to resolve insecurity issues that have been a major setback to agriculture.

Key players in the sector who spoke with BusinessDay attributed the slowed investments into the sector to the prolonged insecurity issues which have been tipped to stoke food crisis in Africa’s biggest economy, as crops, and livestock production continues to decline.

“The insecurity issues in the country keep getting worse and nobody is doing anything about it and if it continues to be ignored, growth in the sector we continue to decline,” said AfricaFarmer Mogaji, chief executive officer, R-ray Consulting Limited.

“We have a shortfall fall in almost all crops and now the gap is getting wider,” he said.

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 and may lead to a food crisis if nothing is done to address the issue quickly.

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

He urged the government to address the issue holistically and as a matter of urgency to ensure food security.

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

Owing to this potential, 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.