The Agriculture Promotion Policy 2016-2020 document, “The Green Alternative” is the outcome of an intensive consultative process starting in November 2015 through April 2016, and involving multiple stakeholders. From farmer groups to investors to processors to lenders to civil servants to academics, many stakeholders provided detailed input, commentary, and support. We are grateful for the resources, energy and intellect put at the disposal of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development by parties too numerous to mention. Thank you for your continued dedication and resolve to build a next generation agribusiness economy in Nigeria.
Building on the successes and lessons from the ATA, the vision of the Buhari Administration for agriculture is to work with key stakeholders to build an agribusiness economy capable of delivering sustained prosperity by meeting domestic food security goals, generating exports, and supporting sustainable income and job growth.
Therefore in 2016 to 2020, Nigeria’s policy now needs to be readjusted to solve the aforementioned challenges. The go forward federal priorities (in partnership with State Governments) will be the following four: food security; import substitution; job creation; and economic diversification.
The new policy regime, tagged the Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP) Policy is founded on the following guiding principles, a number of which are carryovers from the ATA reflecting the strong desire for policy stability. New elements added reflect the lessons from the ATA, as well as priorities emerging from the aspirations of the Buhari Administration:
- Agriculture as a business – focusing the policy instruments on a government-enabled, private sector-led engagement as the main growth driver of the sector. This essential principle was established in the ATA and will remain a cardinal design principle of Nigeria’s agriculture policies going forward.
- Agriculture as key to long-term economic growth and security—focusing policy instruments to ensure that the commercialization of agriculture includes technologies, financial services, inputs supply chains, and market linkages that directly engage rural poor farmers because rural economic growth will play a critical role in the country’s successful job creation, economic diversity, improved security and sustainable economic growth.
- Food as a human right – focusing the policy instruments for agricultural development on the social responsibility of government with respect to food security, social security and equity in the Nigerian society; and compelling the government to recognize, protect and fulfil the irreducible minimum degree of freedom of the people from hunger and malnutrition.
- Value chain approach – focusing the policy instruments for enterprise development across successive stages of the commodity value chains for the development of crop, livestock and fisheries sub-sectors, namely input supply, production, storage, processing/utilization, marketing and consumption. Building complex linkages between value chain stages will be an important part of the ecosystem that will drive sustained prosperity for all Nigerians.
- Prioritizing crops – focusing policy on achieving improved domestic food security and boosting export earnings requires a measure of prioritization. Therefore, for domestic crops, the initial focus in 2016 – 2018 will be expanding the production of rice, wheat, maize, soya beans and tomatoes. For export crops, the initial focus will be on cocoa, cassava, oil palm, sesame and gum Arabic. In 2018 onwards, the export focus will add on bananas, avocado, mango, fish and cashew nuts. Investments in closing infrastructure gaps to accelerate productivity and investment in these crops will also be sequenced to reflect capital availability and management attention.
- Market orientation – focusing policy instruments on stimulating agricultural production on a sustainable basis, and stimulating supply and demand for agricultural produce by facilitating linkages between producers and off takers, while stabilizing prices or reducing price volatility for agricultural produce through market-led price stabilization mechanisms (commodity exchanges, negotiated off-take agreements, extended farm-gate price under value chains coordination mechanisms, agricultural insurance, etc.)
- Factoring Climate change and Environmental sustainability – focusing policy instruments on the sustainability of the use of natural resources (land and soil, water and ecosystems) with the future generation in mind while increasing agricultural production, marketing and other human activities in the agricultural sector.
- Participation and inclusiveness – focusing instruments on measures to maximize the full participation of stakeholders including farmer’s associations, cooperatives and other groups, as well as NGOs, CBOs, CSOs, development partners and the private sector. This places a premium on the role of these organizations or groups as agents of economic change in general and agricultural economy in particular, thereby drawing benefits from their policy advocacy roles as partners to and watchdog of government.
- Policy integrity – focusing policy instruments on measures for sanitizing the business environment for agriculture, in terms of accountability, transparency and due process of law, ensuring efficient allocation and use of public funding and fighting corruption on all programmes involving public resources. This also applies to compliance with international commitments, protocols and conventions that Nigeria is a signatory to.
- Nutrition sensitive agriculture – focusing policy instruments on addressing the issues of stunting, wasting, underweight and other manifestations of hunger and malnutrition with particular reference to the vulnerable groups, which include children under 5, nursing mothers and persons with chronic illness and disabilities
- Agriculture’s Linkages with Other Sectors – focusing policy instruments on the connected relationship between agriculture and other sectors at federal and state levels, particularly industry, environment, power, energy, works and water sectors.
Within this overall set of policy principles, the Federal Government will concentrate on providing an enabling environment for stakeholders at federal and state level to play their distinctive roles. The policy emphasis will be on providing a conducive legislative and agricultural knowledge framework, macro policies, security enhancing physical infrastructure and institutional mechanisms for coordination and enhancing access to adequate inputs, finance, information on innovation, agricultural services and markets.