Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural resources. But long before the discovery of many of these resources, especially crude oil, the Nigerian economy relied on the agriculture sector which accounted for an average of 57% of GDP and generated upwards of 65% in export earnings.
But over the years, the Nigerian agriculture sector has seemingly lost its relevance due to negligence. Recent figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the agriculture sector contributed about 23.24% of country’s GDP in Q2 2022.
Regardless of the challenges, the agriculture sector remains very important to the Nigerian economy. And like every other sector, it is regulated by various laws. This article looks at some of these laws.
1. The National Agricultural Seeds Act Cap. N5 Vol. 10 LFN 2004
The overall objective of the Act is to harmonise the seed industry with other agricultural input industries to meet the increasing demand of the agricultural sector.
The Act also seeks to regulate the development of the national seed system by establishing a council known as the National Agricultural Seed Council. The council is responsible for the policy guidelines and monitoring of the development of the national seed system.
The Act also proposes various programs, policies and actions regarding seed development and the seed industry.
National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) Act Cap. N5 Vol.10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004: This Act seeks to provide strategic public support for land development.
According to the Act, “development” is defined as the physical preparation of land for crop and livestock and includes actual stock and livestock production, storage, processing and marketing as well as the provision of social infrastructural facilities.
The Act established the National Agricultural Land Development Authority as a corporate body with the mandate of harnessing the full potential of the vast arable lands in Nigeria, empowering smallholder and large-scale farmers. Other responsibilities include mechanising the drive for food and fibre security while assisting efforts to diversify the economy.
The Act also seeks to
Promote and support optimum utilisation of Nigeria’s rural land resources for accelerated production of food and fibre;
Expand productive capacity in agriculture and regain export capability in traditional and non-traditional crops;
Encourage the evolution of economic-size rural settlements that will reap the economies of scale in the provision of social infrastructures;
Provide gainful employment opportunities for rural people, raise rural incomes and improve the general living standards in rural areas;
Contribute significantly towards the attainment of national food and fibre self-reliance, self-sufficiency and national food security through optimum utilisation of available abundant land resources which ensures minimum soil and environmental degradation, while simultaneously promoting sustainable agriculture.
Facilitate appropriate cost-effective mechanisation of agriculture.
2. The Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund Act Cap. A10 LFN 2004:
This Act established a fund into which a certain sum of money is to be subscribed to, making provision for and guaranteeing loans for agricultural purposes by any bank.
As stipulated by the Act, “loan granted pursuant to the Act shall not be applied for any purpose other than that for which such loan was granted.
Criminal liability is prescribed for any person (including corporations) who applies for such loans in contravention of the Act.”
This Act provides a scheme to protect the Nigerian farmer from the effect of natural hazards by introducing measures which ensure sufficient indemnity to keep the farmer in business and to establish the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation.
NAIC as a Corporation is responsible for the implementation, management, and administration of the Agricultural Insurance Scheme in Nigeria.
3. Agricultural (Control of Importation) Act Cap. A13 LFN 2004
This Act provides for the regulation of the importation of articles used for controlling plant diseases and pests which are injurious to agricultural or horticultural crops.
Section 4(1) of the Act mandates the Minister of Agriculture to regulate the importation of plants, seeds, soil, containers, straw and other packing materials, artificial fertilisers, and other similar goods which could potentially be infectious to local fauna and flora.
Regulations made under this section may provide that a contravention of any specified regulations shall be an offence and may provide penalties in respect thereof.
This Act set out the general principles, procedures and methods to enable the prior consideration of environmental impact assessment on certain public or private projects.
It provides the framework for assessment of the impact of activities likely to have significant impacts on natural resources and the environment.
It also ensures that the potential environmental impact of a proposed activity is identified and evaluated before approval is given to proceed with the planning and implementation of such activity.
5. The Sea Fisheries Act Cap S4 LFN 2004)
This Act provides for the control, regulation and protection of sea fisheries in the territorial waters of Nigeria.
As stipulated by the Act, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the registration of vessels for fishing or shrimping purposes
The Act provides for the licensing of motor fishing boats and how to go about applying for the licence.
Section 1 states that “No person shall operate or navigate any motor fishing boat for the purpose of fishing or a reefer vessel for the purpose of discharging frozen fish within the territorial waters of Nigeria or its exclusive economic zone unless that boat or reefer vessel has been duly registered and licensed.”
What you should know
The regulatory authorities of the agricultural sector include The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (FMARD), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Customs Service.
Other laws applicable to the agricultural sector include the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria Act Cap. A12 LFN 2004, The Land Use Act Cap L5 LFN 2004, The River Basins Development Authorities Act 1987, Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute Act (Cap A10 LFN 2004 and the National Crop Varieties and Livestock Breeds (Registration, etc.) Act.