BusinessDay

Stakeholders see agric investment pivotal in tackling poverty

Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have said Nigeria can only win the fight against poverty, hunger and address issues limiting food production with the right strategic investments in the sector.

The stakeholders stated this at the Validation Workshop to review the survey report on corporate governance and board structure of the agriculture sector in Nigeria, organised by the Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria in Lagos recently.

Tijjani Borodo, director of the Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria, in his keynote address, said that Agriculture has been recognised to be one of the most promising mechanisms for reducing poverty and fortifying local livelihoods worldwide.

Borodo pointed out some of the challenges facing the sector as policy biases, underinvestment, mis-investment, and lack of capacities underpin weak governance in agriculture.

He noted that for the agricultural sector to thrive there is the need to enthrone the principles of good governance structures and related policies at all levels.

According to him, “Where the tenets of corporate governance including accountability, fairness, transparency, and responsibility are adhered to and executed effectively, it can prevent corporate scandals, fraud, and the civil and criminal liability of a company.”

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Stressing the need for strategic investment in the sector, Borodo said investors need to coordinate their efforts to provide support and mainstream their investment policies to ensure that they respond to national needs than the needs of their capitals.

“There is need for reforms to improve public sector capacity, efficiency and delivery must consider problems affecting the performance of agriculture ministries, agencies and extension services. Along with national and local partners, donors also have a role to play in improving governance in agriculture.

He further said that in addition to reforms in national and regional level governance, reforms in the global governance of agriculture are much needed, adding that all will have to consider their role in ensuring that good governance structures are adopted and provided for at all levels.

“Managing global common challenges such as climate change; regional challenges such as pandemic plant and animal diseases and invasive species; conducting research and development into ‘orphan crops’ that are important for national and local food security and reducing transaction costs through standards and rules all need support at the global level,” Borodo said.

Chioma Mordi, chief executive officer at Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria while presenting the survey carried out in partnership with AFOS Foundation said the report covered a holistic review of the agriculture sector across the various value chains.

Mordi disclosed that the survey report recommends that the agricultural sector must be properly structured and segmented across the value chain in all ramifications.

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