By: Job Oyebisi. 25 March, 2019
Nigeria’s once thriving agricultural industry has now become a historical nostalgia. Prior to Nigeria’s discovery of oil in 1956 and the oil boom in the 1970s, the country was the world’s largest exporter of palm oil—well ahead of Malaysia and Indonesia. Ahead of the United States, Nigeria exported 47 per cent of the world’s groundnuts. As far as cocoa was concerned, in the 1960s Nigeria was the number two global producer and accounted for 18 per-cent of global cocoa production.
Agriculture was not only more sustainable for the economy of the country, it was very inclusive as the revenue generated trickle down and permeated 70% of households in the country employed by the agricultural industry. It was the lust for the black gold and the mismanagement of the money that it returned that threw the country off the path of steady development and growth.
To return back to the golden era of agriculture and its consequent sustainable development of our economy, we must;
- improve smallholder farmers’ access to farm-inputs, markets and finances. Smallholders produce over 80% of our total national food, they are therefore key to the growth of our agricultural industry.
- improve agricultural research in seed breeding, crop protection extension and agricultural technology.
- rally public and private sector investments in agriculture to boost its growth and
- ease young people’s participation in agribusiness to sustain its future.