Nigeria is at the threshold of the much-needed agricultural revolution in Africa, Mr Abraham Odoom, member, Parliament House of Ghana has said.
Addressing members of the Rice Assured Advocacy Forum (RAAF) in Abuja on Wednesday, Odoom based his assessment on the gains recorded by the country in its rice value chain.
He spoke at the Second National Congress, Policy Dialogue and Inauguration of the Board of Trustees of the RAAF, which is facilitated by the John A. Kufuor Foundation (JAKF).
RAAF is a national dialogue platform aimed at harmonising the rice value chain actors in Nigeria to advocate for better policies towards the development of the country’s rice sector.
It was set up during the first phase of the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) from June 2014 to June 2018, and currently consists of about 17 state platforms in the country.
Odoom said if Nigeria got it right in the agricultural sector, the whole of West Africa would get it right.
He called for robust business models to sustain the gains and achievements in the rice value chain.
Odoom, who is the First Policy Adviser of CARI, also urged the country to replicate its efforts in the rice sector in other crop value chains.
Nigeria has been listed among the 16 top producers of rice in the world as the country attained 3.7 million tonnes of milled rice in December valued at N684 billion.
“we wish that the rice value chain is sustained with business models that will stand the test of time.
“For instance, between the rice farmer and the input dealer, there must be some strong business model that will make the input dealer to always supply something.
“Between the farmer and the seed provider there must be some strong model, and once you are able to organise the value chain in the context of business models, no government can destroy it.’’
He said this would make the private sector to take full control of the whole value chain in line with the Federal Government’s vision of a private-sector led agricultural sector.
Also speaking, Mrs Fatimah Aliyu, the Deputy Director, Rice Value Chain, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the Federal Government was also promoting the development of other crop value chains.
Aliyu said public attention was focused on the rice subsector because of the status of rice as a staple food, and its huge import bill for the country.
According to her, government is now restricting itself to provision of policy direction and the enabling environment for the private sector to fully take control of the agricultural sector.