OPPORTUNITIES IN THE AGRICULTURAL VALUE-CHAIN: MAXIMISING ITS POTENTIALS - PART TWO
Before the discovery of Crude Oil in Nigeria in the year 1956 at Oloibiri, Niger Delta by Shell BP, Nigeria's economy was sustained on Agriculture i.e. the mainstay and largest contributor to its GDP was Agriculture. According to the World Bank in 1960s, Nigeria’s GDP (a primary indicator used to gauge the health of a country’s economy) can be seen below:
Average (1960-1969) 5.356
From the period of 1960-1969, the agricultural sector contributed an average of 57% and generated 64.5% of export earnings (source: PwC Nigeria) but with the discovery of Oil, Agriculture was neglected and relegated to the bottom.
The recent economic recession experienced in the last quarter of 2015 till mid 2017 was adjudged to be Nigeria’s worst since 1987 and this opened the conversation for the E.R.G.P. (Economic Recovery and Growth Plan) which was framed with the goal to foster growth, invest in people and build a globally competitive economy.
The need for diversification of the economy led to the resuscitation and awareness of the “sexy” agricultural sector. So after the recession suffered as a result of the dwindling oil prices, the neglected sector became the most admired bride of the Government.
To the discourse in consideration, the opportunities in the agricultural sector are numerous and evolving on a daily basis subject to research, developments and innovations. These opportunities include but not limited to:
1. Processing of High Grade Seeds,
2. Provision of Irrigation Systems,
3. Mechanization and Technology,
4. Pest and Weed Control Techniques,
5. Warehousing and Storage Facilities,
6. Access to Finance and Insurance,
7. Logistics and Haulage Infrastructure,
8. Wholesales and Retailing of Farm Produce,
9. Provision of Security,
10. Training and Capacity Building of Skilled Personnel,
11. Packaging and Branding of Agricultural Products and Brand,
12. Off-taking and Aggregation of Agricultural Commodities,
13. Marketing and Sales of Agricultural Produces,
14. Agricultural Commodities Exchange,
15. Agricultural Ambassadorship and Entertainment.
As Michael Dell asserted, “it's through curiosity and looking at opportunities in new ways that we've always mapped our path.". The future of Nigeria’s agricultural sector belongs to the generations who will be able to rightly utilize the opportunities in Agriculture.