EVALUATE THE CURRENT NIGERIA AGRICULTRAL POLICY IN THE LIGHT OF AGRICULTURE FOR PRO-POOR GROWTH: INTRODUCTION The assignment would attempt to define ‘Pro Poor Growth’, analyse the role of agriculture in addressing the problem of poverty with more emphasis on the current agricultural policy in Nigeria. It would be ascertain whether those policies saw the light of the day and some remedies will be suggested as a way forward. PR-POOR GROWTH: In some literature, growth is termed Pro Poor when incomes of the poor grow at a higher rate than those of the non-poor people.
In the same vein, a recession may be deemed Pro Poor if people lose proportionately less than others, regardless of their worse position. This perception dwells on the distributional shift during the growth process. In another opinion, Pro Poor is simply an act that reduces poverty. See Ravallion and Chen 2003. this view focuses its attention specifically on what happens to poverty. In other words, the extent to which growth is Pro Poor depends on how much a chosen measure of poverty changes, partly on what happens to distribution, and partly on what happens to average living standard.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Also in the view of Kakwani and Pernia (2003), pro Poor Growth is defined ‘as one that enables the poor to actively participate in and significantly benefit from economic activity. This implies a growth path that is labor intensive and concentrated in rural areas i. e. a growth that targets the poorest amongst the population. What is therefore necessary for poverty reduction is a strategy of Pro-Poor Growth is combined with reductions in inequality. AGRICULTURE FOR PRO-POOR GROWTH.
There is a mass of evidence that, increasing agricultural productivity has benefited millions of people through higher incomes, more plentiful and cheaper food, and by generating patterns of development that are employment intensive and benefit both rural and urban areas. It is part of a major option of the UK department for international development’s effort to reduce global poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It is fundamental to the sustenance of life and is the bedrock of economic development.
Agriculture may not be the only condition but, a necessary condition for pro poor growth as it connects economic growth and the rural people, stimulating growth in the non-farm economy, etc. in the context of the economy, agriculture is tied with the various sectors and is essential for generating broad-based growth necessary for development. Consequently, the Pro-Poor possibilities of agriculture are a policy option of some interest in the economic development. It is evident that no poor country has ever successfully reduced poverty through agriculture alone, but almost none have achieved it without first increasing productivity.
However, it is skeptical as to whether agriculture can deliver growth giving challenges concerning globalization factors, such as climate change, an inequitable global trading system, depressed commodity prices, HIV/AIDS, etc. It is all glaring that farmers in Africa and other priority areas would overcome these challenges and achieve development. AGRICULTURE IN NIGERIA: The Agricultural history of Nigeria is intertwined with its political history. The period of colonial administration in Nigeria, i. e. 861-1960 was punctuated by rather ad hoc attention to Agricultural development. The post 1960 period was one of extensive planning and regional competition in agriculture. Before the mid of 1960’s, a Federal Ministry of Agriculture and natural Resources was set up and a face of consolidation and coordination of projects of agricultural development began. Between 1976 and 1980, there were a number of notable Agricultural development activities such as Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), River Basin and Rural Development Authority (RBRDA), and Green Revolution Programme.
All these and lots others sought to improve food production. There was also another Agricultural Development Programme which was designed in response to a fall in agricultural productivity, and put the small holder sector at the center of agricultural development strategy. The experiment of this started with World Bank Funding, with projects at Funtua (1974), Gusau (1974), Gombe (1974), Ayangba (1977), Lafia (1977), Bida (1979), Ilorin (1980), Akiti Akoko (1981), Oyo North (1982).
In their contribution to reduce poverty in Nigeria, the World Bank earmarked 250 million Dollars for FADAMA projects to boost food production and reduce poverty in the country. A lot has been achieved from this agricultural programme. According to one Osun State commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, agriculture is central to human existence, and so it must not be handled with levity. He added that FADAMA Projects came at the most auspicious time to provide the desired stimulus to make Nigerian agriculture and rural develomet effort.
NIGERIA AGRICULTURAL POLICY Nigeria’s agricultural policy is the synthesis of work and action plans of Government designed to stimulate growth and development of agriculture soas to have positive impact on the overall growth of the Nigerian economy. Agricultural policy in Nigeria revolves around the main goals of increasing productivity and income growth, attainment of self-sustaining growth in all sub-sectors, and the structural transformation necessary for the overall socio-economic development of country as well as the improvement in the quality of life of Nigerians.
It also consists of government decisions that influence the level and stability of input and output prices, public investment affecting agricultural production, costs, revenues and allocation of resources. The first national policy on agricultures was adopted in 1988 and expected to remain valid till the year 2000. in 2001, Obasanjo administration closely reviewed the previous agricultural policy that was adopted in 1988 and, evolved new strategies of a new policy document for laying a solid foundation for sustained increase in agricultural productivity and for enhancing output necessary for growth.
This policy bears most of the features of the old policy but, with more focused direction and better articulation. The thrusts of the new policy aimed at achieving the following objectives: i. Creating the conducive macro environment to stimulate greater private sector investment in agriculture so that the private sector can assume its appropriate role as a lead and main actor in agriculture. ii. Articulating and implementing integrated rural development, as a priority to national programme, to raise the quality of life of the rural people. ii. Increasing fiscal incentive to agriculture, among other sectors and recovering import waiver anomalies with appropriate tariffication of agricultural imports. iv. Re-organizing the institutional framework for Government intervention in the sector to facilitate smooth integrated development of agricultural potentials. v. Rationalizing the roles of the tiers of government in their promotional and supportive activities to stimulate growth. vi.
Promoting increased used use of agricultural machinery and inputs through favorable tariff policy. It is evident from the foregoing objectives that Nigeria has a better agricultural policy package for agricultural growth, yet the country is noticed with a slowing wider economic growth and exacerbating poverty with it. Some of these constraints which hamstring the realization of the full potentials of the sector are aligned below; 1. Inadequate database for policy formation, monitoring and evaluation as well as impact assessment. 2.
In conducive enabling environment where micro economic policies and the agricultural policy are in disharmony, thus resulting in escalating costs of production and reduced purchasing power of farmers. 3. Poor translating and articulation of policy presumption into implementable prgrammes. 4. Poor targeting of programmes and projects. 5. Abandonment of projects mid-stream for political reasons. 6. Poor budgeting. 7. Inconsistency and instability in micro-economic policies which do not engender confidence in the economy and tend to discourage medium and long term investments in agriculture.
REMEDIES There is no doubt that agriculture contribute to the development of Nigeria as an economic activities, liveshood and a provider of environmental services. However, pursuing agriculture for development agenda would need to define what to do and how to do it. What to do requires a policy framework anchored on the behaviour of the policy agents. In other word, to maximize the impact of Nigeria agricultural policy on poverty, it should aim to realize the links between increasing productivity and growth in the wider economy through the following ways; Export promotion of agricultural and ago-industrial products: Nigeria should promote her exportable agricultural commodities such as rubber, spices, hides and skins, gum Arabic, cocoa, etc by expanding the productive base and widen the market to absorb the expected market in production. •Agricultural Extension: The tree tiers of government in Nigeria should be involved in jointly financing agricultural extension delivering and monitoring its impact. Commodity marketing and export: The development of an efficient agricultural marketing system should be promoted through the provision of adequate market information. •Credit and micro-credit delivering and provision of social protection which targets cash benefits; Government should improve on her initiatives to grant credit delivering to Nigeria farmers and rural dwellers. •Agricultural Development Fund; A maximum of 5% of the national budget should be allocated to the agricultural sector with maximum supervision. CONCLUSION.
It can be submitted from the foregoing except that agriculture, not the only condition, is placed at the heart of efforts to reduce poverty, because increasing agriculture productivity has allowed poor countries to make the initial step on to the ladder leading to prosperity. The required and implementable agriculture policy in Nigeria would help the farmers to increase production by persuading them on adopt improved technical practices, develop skills, knowledge, benefit from research and technology, and to raise their efficiency and thus, achieve a high level of living.
It would also go beyond its direct impact on farmers incomes. REFERENCE. 1. S. K. Taiwo Williams; Rural Development in Nigeria; University of Ife press, Ile-Ife Nigeria. 2. Wayne, Tones, OCED; Promoting Pro Poor Growth through Agriculture. 3. World Development Report; (2008); Agriculture for Development. 4. World Bank; Direction in Development; Agriculture Growth for the Poor.