Food security : The need for a comprehensive 21st century Agricultural Policy For Nigeria

The global economic downturn has necessitated the urgent needs for both the developed and developing worlds to re-think,re-adjust, act swiftly and decisively to alleviate the economic suffering brought about by the ongoing recession due to greed on the part of the developed and lack of sound economic policies on the part of the developing countries. The Nigerian economy is in the dire need of transformation and The present Acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan should now ensure that the executive land -reform bill sponsored by President Yar-Adua currently being debated by the House of senate, when eventually passed into law should pave way for a government white paper on Agriculture-{Agricultural policy } for the nation

Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora would be delighted to see the Acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan and states Governors tackling the energy problem, it is very essential that both the states and Federal governments recognises the urgency to restore the collapse of our manufacturing sector as countries like Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia , Singapore just to mention a few,achieved and still achieving economic successes due to the functioning of their manufacturing sectors that can compete on world markets.

Federal Government , states government and industry leaders should take cognizance of the fact the country's income could be improved in the long time, if Nigerian manufacturing industries could be rescucitated by the federal Government as this will,ultimately not only create jobs but will help Nigeria market to compete and succeed in a rapidly growing and an increasing inter-dependent world economy . For Example, Japanese leaders designed their country policies to ensure that Japan's manufacturing industries were able to succeed in Export of their products to either China ,USAand other countries.As a result of this development, manufacturing exports have been largely responsible for Japan's rapid economic growth since the second world war.

However, in recent years, economic interdependence combined with trading imbalances involving , most notably, The United States, Japan, China, United-Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany have prompted countries like Japan and china to adopt new economic policies and to alter fundamentally their internal structure of their economies. Nigeria bi-lateral closer relationship with China is a welcome development and this writer believes Nigeria , as a nation could learn more from these two powerful countries in the areas of commerce and Agriculture.

Reforming our Agricultural policy is necessary for a number of reasons as this essentially involves reforming our trade policy,as trade barriers within the World Trade Organisation { WTO } have been the main instrument of protection.

What should be the aim of Nigeria's Agricultural Policy ?

This writer believes,the Agricultural policy should aim to,for the most part to achieve national consumption and international objectives of foreign reserves. Agricultural experts argues that gone are the days when policies could be designed and pursued for domestic purposes only, Nigeria could being a "free rider" on the international trading system by taking advantage of an increasing open trading system of WTO and ECOWAS for manufactured goods and services. This Writer and Nigerians will welcome a situation where The Acting president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan is allowed to continue to chair the ECOWAS summit in the absence of our president who is currently indisposed and being prayed for by Nigerians for quick recovery. Yes, it is possible that the current global economic recession could temporarily make states to be protectionistsbut as markets improves, the economies of the world will become even more integrated in coming years as further institutional and technological advances remove the barriers between geographically separated markets.

Also, the principal objectives of the policy should be,to provide staple food supplies and alleviate hunger, To create employment opportunities for our teeming jobless youths and , to democratise our rural socities,as most urbanities still have a very strong affliations with their villages in Nigeria,hence the the land reform bill aimed to address the encumrances that have been causing stumbling blocks for democratisation of the rural societies. The policy should also,advocate to expand the output of Agricultural products whose demand was expected to increase most with increases income and curtail the output of products whose demand was expected to decline. The Federal government should as a matter of urgency look into the ways Federal government fertilizers are distributed to local farmers who have been complaining of not receiving these fertilizers. The policy should also look into the issues of processing, storage facilities of Agricultural products and marketing of these products.

With the effect of global warming, it is time developing world like Nigeria should begin to be concerned about its environment and food security for our nation. The recent dwindling in oil prices should make developing countries like Nigeria to readjust its macro-economic and industrial policies for economic growth and improved living standards of the people.

Benjamin Ogbebulu BA HONS,MBICs, writes from London

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