Efforts to drive industry growth and reduce food imports gather pace
Nigeria is rolling out an ambitious reform programme across its agricultural sector aimed at cutting the country’s dependency on food imports, creating jobs and generating growth, according to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Akinwumi Adesina.
Adesina told the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) that the measures, which involve boosting private sector participation and improving competitiveness, would form a key part of Nigeria’s plans to diversify the economy away from oil.
“Over the next five years, we plan to add 20m tonnes of additional food to the domestic food supply to create 3.5m jobs in the sector, and to replace up to 40% of wheat flour imports with high-quality cassava flour,” he said. He added that steps taken by the government to improve rice production should lead to the segment becoming self sufficient by 2015, producing around $2bn in income for farmers.
The full interview with Adesina will appear in The Report: Nigeria 2012, OBG’s forthcoming guide on the country’s economic activity and investment opportunities. The landmark report will include a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for foreign investors, alongside a wide range of interviews with the most prominent political, economic and business leaders, including the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, the UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment and former Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings Lord Green and the President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation Elizabeth Littlefield.
Adesina highlighted the results that some of the key reforms already introduced were bringing, such as the move to privatise the procurement and distribution of fertiliser and seed. “As a result, our private sector firms are growing and foreign direct investment is increasing,” he said.
He voiced his confidence that Nigeria’s banks were well placed to support the expansion of the country’s agricultural sector. “The necessary key for successful reform is to turn agriculture into a business that makes money, with a focus on investments as opposed to aid and development,” he said. “We need to move towards focusing on particular value chains in which we have a traditional comparative advantage.”
The Report: Nigeria 2012 will mark the culmination of more than six months of on-the-ground research by a team of analysts from the Group. It will provide information on opportunities for foreign direct investment into Nigeria’s economy and will act as a guide to the many facets of the country including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and sectoral developments. The Report: Nigeria 2012 will be available in print form or online.