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Industry stakeholders have warned that going by Nigeria’s current agricultural sector’s struggle, the country may not be able to compete in the African free trade market.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari, had on July 8 signed the AfCFTA, joining over 50 other African countries in ratifying what is being considered as the largest free trade agreement anywhere in the world.

READ MORE: Nigeria – Norway trade Volume hits $30 billion

What you should know: Nigeria’s inability to produce major crops like cocoa, groundnut and rubber coupled with alarming importation of farming products, had exposed the country to price fluctuations in the global commodity market-price fluctuations in the global commodity market, analysts at PwC said.

According to data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBA), Nigeria recorded 11.89% decrease in agricultural exports, from N97.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 to N86.1 billion in the first quarter of 2019.

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The data also showed that imported agricultural products increased by 7.98% from what it was in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 28.1% from the first quarter of 2018.

This declining trend in the agricultural sector was also seen in 2018 where the country recorded a drop from 3.45% in 2017 to 2.12% in 2018.

Stakeholders stance: Kenton Dashiell, the Deputy Director General for Partnerships for Delivery at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture,  lamented that Nigeria’s crop yield per hectare is too low, saying it should be raised for the country to be competitive.

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READ ALSO: ACFTA a potential game changer for Africa?

Lamenting Nigeria’s commodity prices, an expert in the export value chain and Director at the African Centre for Supply Chain, Obiora Madu ,said the local commodity prices are higher than the prices of the crops at the international market.

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Madu said: “The environment is still not friendly. Access to finance is still a problem. The export stimulation fund that was unveiled by the Central Bank of Nigeria three years ago, no stakeholder has been able to access it. Logistics costs are still very high and there are challenges involving the movement of goods from the ports. Transporting goods from China to Nigeria is faster than transporting goods within Nigeria.”

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Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

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