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Thursday, February 20, 2014

FERTILIZER AND THE SO-CALLED AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION IN NIGERIA


      The hallmark of this regime agricultural transformation is commercialization; though i have nothing against large scale commercial agriculture, i equally doesn't support the current neglect of small scale rural farmers in favour of large scale investors such as Dangote. In all the countries that agriculture have help transformed their economies by providing revenue and the most needed employment, small scale farmers are the center of that transformation. Most of the noise this regime is making about its agricultural transformation is only on paper as the real farmers in various rural locations around the country do not know much about these so called transformations. Fertilizer is still difficult for ordinary farmers to get, farm credit not available, and modern farming equipment obsolete. The much talk about creation of 3.5 million jobs in agriculture and related services is no where near becoming true.



  According to Hussain Abdu (country Director, ActionAid Nigeria), federal government has budgeted only 1.7 percent and 1.3 percent to the agricultural sector in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Looking at the level of noise that is coming out from this regime image makers one would have thought that this government is doing more than enough for the sector. This poor budgetary allocation to agriculture is not only peculiar with the federal government as most states government have continued with their neglect of the sector. In the last four years of this regime, the importation of food stuffs into the country did not change; the country remain as one of the largest importers of rice in the world, among other agricultural products. About 90% of Nigerian farmers still depend on ordinary farm implements such as hoe to produce the food they need to take care of their families. Hence, the predominance of poverty among Nigerian rural dwellers who are mostly farmers. Therefore, agricultural revolution such as the one this regime is claiming to have brought, that focus on Billionaire farmers, will do little to reduce the cycle of poverty that is currently ravaging the rural farmers. Instead, it will pave way for much bigger revolution that would sweep away the political class from their present point of advantage.