FOOD PRODOUCTION IN NIGERIA
This paper uses the case of the Nigerian food and agricultural sector to deduce implications for engendering economic policy for the development of Africa. The food and agricultural problems of Nigeria include low productivity and output, due to such factors as limited access to input sources, the use of traditional technologies and ineffective government and improvement policies. Gender related studies on Nigerian agriculture reveal that women are pivotal to the rural economies of Africa, as food and agricultural producers, processors and traders. In this paper, their strategic position is juxtaposed with the fact that they often operate on the margin of society, due to their low control of inputs and output. A paradigm
shift is advocated in the paper. This is to be effected through deliberate incorporation of gender as a separate variable into development programming and projects. This will ensure, among other things that production inputs get to the real producers, many of whom are small scale women farmers. The issue therefore, is not whether economic development policy needs to be engendered in Africa. It is how quickly it can be done to stimulate the development of African rural economics.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Development efforts in the post-independence period in Nigeria have produced mixed results. These results are due largely to the growth-oriented approach to development planning which emphasized growth in macroeconomic variables such as Gross National Product (GNP), investment, etc. Thus Nigeria experienced growth up until the 1970s. Average annual rate of growth of GDP was 4% in the 1950s, 3,5% per annum in the 1960s, and 6,5% per annum in the 1970s (Diejomaoh, 1984). Growth rates in the 1970s were very impressive: 8,7% in 1976-77; 7,5% in 1977-78; and 8,8% in 1979-80. In many sectors, however, performance was poor. The agricultural sector in particular performed very poorly.
When the first National Development Plan was launched (1962-68), agriculture contributed 61,2% of GDP and was the chief foreign exchange earner for the nation. Planning efforts placed emphasis on industrialization, and concentration on industry led to the neglect of agriculture. This neglect was worsened by the discovery and exploitation of crude oil in Nigeria. The 'oil boom' made Nigeria heavily dependent on oil revenues, to the neglect of other section, especially agriculture.
The neglect of the agricultural sector meant that it could not perform the is expected of it, such as providing employment opportunities, self-reliance in food production, higher per capital income, foreign exchange earnings and industrial raw materials (Federal Ministry of National Planning, 1975). Instead rising food prices, growing food import bills, decline of traditional exports, and increasing rural-urban migration were the results. Imports of food and beverages rose from N61,6 million in 1970 to N2,1 billion by 1981 (Adeyemo, 1984). In per capita terms, food production showed a declining trend. In the Third Development Plan Period (1975-1980) efforts were made to revive the agricultural sector. The growth rate of food demand was estimated to be 3,5% per annum while that of food production was only one per cent per annum. Thus increasing food deficits were expected if no efforts were made to increase food production. One of the objectives for the agricultural sector for the fourth plan period was to (Federal Ministry of National Planning, 1981): promote increased production of food and other raw materials to meet the needs of a growing population and rising industrial production, a basic objective in this respect is the attainment of self sufficiency in food within the plan period.
The Fourth Plan period witnessed the launching of the Green Revolution Programme and implementation of various other agricultural policies. However,
as Table 1 shows, total food production did not grow significantly and per capital
food production declined. While Nigeria could finance food import bills, deficits in food production could be absorbed. However, the oil glut of the 19808 led to dwindling foreign exchange and an inability to pay for food or raw material imports. This, in addition to mounting foreign debt, allude it necessary to revamp the economy. The major economic policy instrument of the 19808, to bring about greater balance in the economies of developing countries, was the concept of 'structural adjustment'. The Structural Adjustment Programme was adopted in Nigeria in 1986. Among its objectives were to (Central Bank of Nigeria, 1986):
* restructure and diversify the productive base of the economy so as to reduce dependence on the oil sector and imports
* achieve a fiscal and balance of payments viability
* lay the basis for a reasonable non-inflationary growth
* lessen the dominance of unproductive investments in the public sector, improve the sector's efficiency and intensify the growth potential of the private sector.
Emphasis was to be on demand management policies which were to include (Ikpeze, 1988):
* curtailment of recurrent expenditure through restraint on wage increases and employment freezes
* reduction in transfers to parastatals, coupled with a policy of cost recovery.
In addition to monetary, fiscal and external policy measures, various sectoral policies were also strengthened to expand and diversify the production base of the economy. In the agricultural sector, for example, the major objectives were to:
* increase domestic food production in order to improve nutritional standards and eliminate food imports
* increase the supply of raw materials to the manufacturing sector
* increase production of exportable cash crops
* raise rural employment and incomes.
The general emphasis was on the attainment of self sufficiency in food production and basic raw materials. Measures adopted included:
* disengagement by government from direct involvement in food
* setting up the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) in conjunction with State governments
* provision of necessary support services to private farmers.
Since the adoption of the Structural Adjustment Programme, an Agricultural Policy was launched in 1988. This was a comprehensive policy package to be used over the next fifteen years to improve the performance of the nation's agricultural sector. The main goals of the policy were (Central Bank of Nigeria, 1988):
* attainment of self sufficiency in food production
* self sustained growth in the agricultural sector.
Policy instruments to achieve these objectives included:
* selective subsidies on farm inputs and equipment in order to reduce the cost of agricultural production and producer prices
* tariff regulations to help promote exports and discourage non-essential imports
* favourable fiscal and credit guidelines to increase the competitiveness of agricultural commodities on world markets
* review of land acquisition and allocation laws in favour of agriculture.
Strategies to achieve these objectives included (Central Bank of Nigeria. 1988).
* ecological specialization in crops, livestock and forestry production
* encouraging all scales of production, namely ,large, medium and smallsca1e
* input supply, ie production/procurement and distribution of relevant agricultural inputs by government
* expansion and rationalization of the various support services rendered by government
While the Federal Government is to provide a general policy frame work:
agricultural development, state governments were to be primarily responsible for.
* promotion of extension services
* ensuring effective access to land for farming
* involvement in training and development of appropriate personnel
* pest and disease control at state level
* agricultural credit administration at state level
* provision of storage for price stabilization.
Local governments were to assist in extension services, the provision of rural infrastructure and the promotion of farmers' organizations, while the private sector was expected to play a leading role in investment, and the production, marketing, processing and storage of farm produce. It was also expected to participate in input supply and distribution, agricultural mechanisation, and research and the provision of basic infrastructure (Central Bank of Nigeria. 1988).
Thus over the years, an overriding objective for Nigeria's agricultural sector has been the attainment of self-sufficiency in food production. Self-sufficiency in food production implies that Nigeria should grow enough food to feed herself and have a surplus to export if possible. In the past, agricultural policies have tended to focus on male farmers who grow most of the cash crops which are exported a: used as industrial raw materials. Increasingly, however, available data shows that
food crop production and processing in Nigeria are dominated by rural women, a in many other Mrican countries. This project work examines the survey of food production in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Agriculture used to be the prime mover of the Nigerian economy, especially up to the 1970s before petroleum became important. Agricultural exports drove the economy forward. However, even at that time, the food sub-sector was stagnating. Subsequently, stagnation and decline covered the whole agricultural sector. Thus, for much of the period from about 1970, agriculture has been unable to spear – head the development of the Nigerian economy. Even, the Structural Adjustment Policy (SAP) of the 1980s was not able to bring about development in agriculture. Much of the increase in the growth indices for agriculture was notional, with little change in real terms. This study hereby outline some of the problem that the agricultural sector facing today:
i. Problems of capital
ii. Method of land acquisition
iii. Lack of farming machineries
iv. Marketing of farm produce
v. Bad road network and
vi. Neglect by the government.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
This research work is on a survey on food production. Therefore the objective of this study is to:
1. Identify the level of food/agricultural production in the study area.
2. Problem facing the agricultural sector today.
3. Identify the role of the government in food production
4. Identify source of capital to the farmers
5. Identify how the farmers market their goods.
1. Does increase domestic food production improve nutritional standards and eliminate food imports?
2. Does disengagement of the government in the agricultural sector reduce food production in the country?
3. Does the provision of necessary support service to the farmers increase food production in Nigeria?
4. Does government makes policies that are in favour of the farmers?
5. Is Nigeria self-sufficient in food production?
6. Is the land acquisition policy in favour of the farmers
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Nigerian food production had been neglected by the Government since the Colonial Era. This supported the uncertain belief that Nigeria has enough food to feed the nation. It was not until the latter half of the 1970s, when the Government took measures to increase food production, that the Government admitted that there is a food shortage in this country. The measures taken by the Government, however, had little impact for food crop production and cash crop production. It is ironic that many plans in which the Government took the initiative and mobilized her institutions fully did not have significant influence, but the programs which the Government was reluctant to start had the most significant impact on agricultural production. It is apparent that governmental or semi-governmental agricultural institutions, which are supposed to increase agricultural production in the country, were not efficient but rather hindered. Therefore this study will be of importance both to the government and the private farmers.
This study will also provide an insight into the level of food production and Nigeria. Stating the problems faced by the agricultural sectors and ways to resolving these problems.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work is titled “A survey on food production” and it is restricted only to Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
SAP: Structural Adjustment Programme
Agricultural Policy: This refers to laws made by the government to regulate the agricultural sectors in the country.
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