Nigeria has recognized that improving the agricultural sector’s performance is vital to growth and poverty reduction through its direct impact on food security, building resilience, livelihood enhancement and job creation, especially for women and youth. This is evident in the recent pronouncements by the President Buhari’s administration which has also promoted the sector as the key driver of her economic diversification strategy. Interestingly, the agricultural sector presently contributes over 22 per cent of the Nigeria’s GDP and employs over 70 per cent of the population. Empirical evidence suggests that a 1 per cent gain in GDP originating from agriculture generates a 6 per cent increase in overall expenditure of the poorest 10 per cent of the population.
However, the recent decline of oil revenues in the country has initiated discussions on how to transform the economy using the agricultural sector. Essentially, agricultural transformation requires that the sector is accorded the required attention in terms of policy, participation and funding and that both the public and private sector stakeholders play their roles effectively. There are many issues that have been acting as limiter to the expected transformation from both the public and private sectors viewpoints. This has initiated the need for a consultation of selected key players in the agricultural sector to harvest some of these issues for the purpose of proffering solutions to them through recommendations to the duty bearers.
Therefore NANTS in collaboration with Africa Lead organized a one-day roundtable consultation of selected MDAs and Non State Actors to brainstorm on the status of the Nigerian agricultural sector, issues, challenges and the way forward. Further, the consultation is intended to create an avenue for building the coordination between the public and the private sector. Interestingly, the government’s new agric policy direction- the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) which is a successor of the Agriculture Transformation Agenda of the previous Administration, has just been finalized and adopted thereby presenting an opportunity for stakeholders to brainstorm collectively on necessary future steps in developing the agricultural sector in Nigeria.