The annual Budget has been widely regarded as the second most important legal document of a nation after the Constitution. This is because it is a tool for allocating scarce resources of the country to sectors of the economy on an annual basis. In so doing it demonstrates government commitment and prioritisation among sectors, programmes and projects through the share of the budget that each gets. The sectoral allocations usually reflect government policy and programmes as detailed in policy documents adopted by the administration at the time. The present government has adopted Transformation Agenda 2011-2015 (TA) as the Blueprint for the nation’s socio-economic development with specific areas of focus including targets and strategies for realising them.
The TA clearly makes agriculture one of the key sectors and drivers of the economy that is strategic for achieving socioeconomic transformation of the country. The role of agriculture in transforming Nigeria is particularly significant because it contributes most to Nigeria’s GDP (above 40%); employs about 66% of the labour force; provides over 80% of food consumed in Nigeria; provides at least 50% of industrial raw materials needed in the country and holds a lot of potentials for the needed transformation.
But notwithstanding the demonstrated contribution and potentials of this sector, successive governments have over the years relegated it to secondary levels behind other less sustainably impacting sectors like oil and gas. With the TA of the present administration, agriculture comes to limelight as a potential vehicle for creating employment and improving the GDP growth rate of the country from 7.2% in 2011 to the desired 11.8% in 2015.