Gabriel Idahosa, the Deputy President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said Nigeria’s agricultural sector could experience 5% to 6% growth in 2023 if the issues of insecurity and infrastructure are tackled.
Speaking to TVC News, Idahosa stressed that the current trends in Nigeria’s agricultural sector point to infrastructural problems like bad roads, and a lack of technical equipment as well as insecurity. He said:
“If these issues are tackled, we can see very significant growth in the sector. Anything between 5 to 6% is very affordable because of the presence of demand, farmers’ knowledge, and access to finance.
“We need to keep fighting against insecurity so that all farmers can go freely to their farms daily and do the only business they know without having to see the destruction of their crops and to pay a lot of extra costs for personal security for themselves and their farms. That is the most important farming constraint.
“The other constraint is the infrastructure around the agricultural business. The quality of roads as well as power supply, the quality of technical equipment like tractors and harvesters that farmers need.”
Addressing the challenges: Mr Idahosa said that tackling these issues will enable a seamless process of getting into the farms to produce and getting the products out to markets or processing facilities. According to him, the entire road and rail networks that should facilitate these processes are suboptimal at this stage, they are not working anywhere near where they ought to be.
He further stated that access to finance is not necessarily a significant problem to address, this is because there are funding facilities being provided by various agencies like the Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Agriculture, and other commercial banks. So, funding is not a major issue for the sector.
More insights: In its January 2023 Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank stated that sub-Saharan African (SSA) food markets remain tight because of declines in stocks, limited imports, weather-induced disruptions to production like floods in Nigeria, high prices of farming inputs, and the negative impact of insecurity on farming and suppliers’ ability to access food markets.
For the record: The World Bank maintains that these conditions will make food systems in the SSA region, particularly vulnerable to various shocks, including the volatility of global food prices and climate change.