Advancing Nigeria’s agriculture in the midst of conflict

Agriculture is, arguably, one of the oldest practices of most human societies, and the processes of food production have been continuously refined, and improved upon to meet different challenges and developments through the ages.
Nigeria has a very rich history with Agriculture. For many years, it was the mainstay of the nation’s economy, especially during the closing years of colonial rule and the early years following independence in 1960. In fact, Nigeria’s initial claim to fame was its leading roles as producers of different cash crops including cocoa, cotton, timber, groundnut and palm oil, among others.

The discovery and the exploration of crude oil in Nigeria changed the fortunes of Agriculture, and even Nigeria. The wealth of crude oil was instantly attractive to the country, and was used to fund the massive rebuilding of the post-civil war years. However, petro-naira sounded the death knell for agriculture as successive governments, basked in oil wealth to the detriment of Agriculture. In no time and with half-hearted commitments and very low investments from the government, agriculture was relegated to small time, rural practitioners with little and stale technological knowledge or inputs.

The environmental and economic issues tied to oil and gas, including the fall in oil prices forced the Nigerian government to come to term with the imperativeness of economic diversification as a necessity. The government identified agriculture as a viable alternative to crude oil, in rebuilding the nation’s economy. It soon realised that the systems, processes and practice of agriculture in the 21st century is remarkably different from the 1960s owing to technology and improved processes. Even at that the Nigerian government is determined to give agriculture the necessary push.

However, one of the greatest barriers to the development of this sector is the precarious state of security across the country. This has remained a daunting challenge to the aspirational task of rebuilding Nigeria’s economy on agriculture but one of the militating factors against this remains unending insecurity including insurgency in the Northeast, banditry and kidnappings in the Northwest, pastoralists-farmers clashes in the Northcentral and Southern parts of the country.

Read also:  How Agrorite redefines Nigeria’s agriculture

It is not out of place that insecurity is the greatest threat to the development of agriculture in today’s Nigeria.
In the light of this, AVAS Consulting, an Agriculture and food production consulting practice with operational presence in Lagos, Nigeria and Bilbao, Spain is scheduled to hold a strategic one day conference tagged: Advancing Nigeria’s Agriculture in the Midst of Conflict. The conference billed to hold on Thursday, 7th April, 2022 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria.

The conference is expected to be declared open by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. It will be headlined by a Keynote address by Mr James Brett, a conflict solution activist and founder of Plant for Peace, a highly successful international initiative designed specifically to assist rural communities and smallholder farmers in conflict and post-conflict territories around the world to achieve food security and sustainable economic development.

Mr Brett whose incredible work with small time farmers in Afghanistan is widely referenced across the globe will share workable solutions for Nigeria, and render his expertise to stakeholders in Nigeria’s agriculture sector. More important, he will throw light on how Nigeria’s agriculture sector can attract necessary strategic funding to help strengthen the supply chain and ultimately the economy.

Other speakers expected at the conference include Dr Kayode Fayemi, Executive Governor of Ekiti State, Professor Babagana Zulum, Executive Governor of Borno State and Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Executive Governor of Kaduna State and Dr Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Panelists at the conference will include technocrats and policy makers, agro allied practitioners and major stakeholders in Nigeria’s agriculture sector.
The conference, amongst others, is expected to critically discuss the (in)security situation in Nigeria and how this affects Agriculture, food production and food security. It will also analyse the agriculture policy landscape including the effectiveness of the various interventions at Federal and State levels. The different compelling opportunities in the sector are expected to be highlighted by the conference, as this would be of good interest to local and foreign investors.

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