The Nigerian agricultural policies have undergone metamorphosis at several stages of the country’s development, starting from the colonial era to the post colonial era of 1963. In the early part of the post colonial era, the country had a policy based on surplus extraction. This was later transformed to an export-led policy, which brought about an improvement in the economy of the nation. The western region was exporting cocoa; the northern region was exporting groundnut, while the southeastern region was known for oil palm.
Fast forward to the alter part of independence, the Nigerian agricultural policy inclined more on import than export, since the government has not really made convincing efforts to implement many of its rules and policies on agriculture.
Nigerian Agricultural Policies
Some of the policies are highlighted below
• Attainment of complete self-sufficiency in all basic food products placing emphasis on those foods that takes up a good chunk of Nigerians foreign exchange, like rice.
• Increase in quantity of agricultural-related raw materials produced to make them adequate for the industrial sector and remove the need for importation of such raw materials.
• Increase in the quantity of exportable products being produced in an attempt to increase amount of foreign exchange Nigerian earns on such products towards diversifying the economy with increase in export base.
• Modernization of all aspects of agriculture, like distribution, storage, processing and production. Implementation of proper management and viable technologies to ensure agriculture can meet with the needs and expectations of the other sectors towards further grooming of the economy.
• Provision of more rural employment opportunities through agricultural development towards increasing farmers’ incomes and bettering the lot of rural dwellers. This equally provides employment opportunity towards reducing unemployment rate.
• Improvement and protection of arable lands useful for farming and protection of all resources on and under the ground. Preservation of the farming environment to ensure sustainable production in agriculture.
• Establishment of all necessary institutions to cater for needs of farmers and promote farming. Creation of necessary administrative organs that can help facilitates the realization of all agricultural potentials of the country.
What needs to be done
In order to fulfill the dictates of the Nigerian agricultural policies as highlighted above, there is need to provide the right equipments to farmers and make machineries available to help alleviate some of the challenges encountered in the farming processes. The government is to improve on husbandry and also make seed stocks available. Provision of improved seeds that can develop fast and also resist disease will equally go a long way.
Establishment of the Agricultural Development Program (ADP) is one move that sought to provide answers to the questions and worries of farmers. However, the ADP is presently a ghost of its past self.
Lack in the area of biotechnology, development and research is the bane of agricultural development in Nigeria. Biotechnology opens the door to new ways of doing things and ensures improvement in quality and quantity of food production.
Political unwillingness is yet another factor that has been acting as impedance to agricultural development in Nigeria and preventing full implementation of the dictates of the agricultural policies.