Agric Sector To Attract N76.8bn By 2030 – Okonkwo | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Agric Sector To Attract N76.8bn By 2030 – Okonkwo

Posted: Jul 26, 2016 at 6:21 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Juliet Oyoyo


As part of proffering solutions to the call to diversify and concentrate less on oil, Professor Wilfred Ifeanyi Okonkwo of University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), has said that Nigeria’s agricultural potentials would be worth $256 billion (about N76.8 trillion) by 2030, if properly harnessed and diversified.

Prof. Okonkwo made the submission at the 32nd combined convocation and Diamond Jubilee Pre- Convocation lecture of Kaduna Polytechnic, noting that most of the projected revenue is expected to come from diversification of high value crops that includes cocoa, palm oil, groundnut, rubber, cotton and several others.

The Professor of Agriculture quoted the International Food Policy Research Institute report that says the value of agriculture in Nigeria in 2010 worth $99 billion, while Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report on Competitive Commercial Agriculture for Africa shows that Nigeria and Mozambique have vast arable land that can become the food basket for the rest of the world, if only there is political will.

He said that Nigeria needs to go back to the 60s and 70s when it made agriculture the mainstream of its economy, and to go a step further by making use of modern equipment and inputs, improved seedlings, while adding value to its agric produce to create additional jobs and increase the income accruable from the produce.

“Nigeria has one of the richest agricultural resources for food production in the world with arable land of 98 million hectares out of which 84 million hectares is cultivable. Only 34 out of the 84 million hectares (48%) is cultivated. With 230 billion cubic metres of water resources, abundant and reliable weather conditions and a population of about 170 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s largest market in terms of agricultural productivity.

“Nigeria’s huge population, vast arable land and climate variations allow it to produce a variety of food crops and cash crops. Among these are cassava, yam, corn, cocoa-yam, cowpea, beans, variety of fruits and vegetables, cocoa, cotton, groundnut, palm oil. These formed part of Nigeria’s major exports in the 1960s until petroleum surpasses them in 1970.

“Nigeria emerged leading producer of most of these produces then but the discovery of oil ensured that the country continued to lag behind in the production of these products to the extent of becoming importer of many of these food and cash crops from leading producer and exporter, with resultant negative impact on the dependent economy that ensures dollar and foreign countries dictate the direction and status of the economy.

“Nigeria’s quest and his taste for imported food items in the midst of rising world food prices is improving inflation while unemployment among our youths remains on the increase on daily basis, while our imports create jobs for the countries from where we import. The consequences are increase social vices and youth restiveness here and there,” he stated.

He added that in 2010 alone, Nigeria spent N635 billion on importation of wheat, N356 billion on importation of rice, N217 billion on the importation of sugar, N90 billion on the importation of fish despite all the marine resources Nigeria is endowed with.

“Nigeria must use what it has, the power of population and rich arable land to create market for our local foods production and employment for our large teeming population producing what we eat and eat what we produce,” stated.