Eyes glued on agriculture


Tuesday, October 13, 2015 09:19AM / FBN Capital Research   

The commentary on agriculture in the CBN’s latest quarterly Economic Report notes that in Q2 2015 widespread rainfall was recorded in most areas of the country.

The harvesting of maize and yam was the major agricultural activity in the southern states, while off-season harvesting and livestock movement were the focus in the northern states.

However, insecurity in the north had a greater, offsetting impact on output during the quarter, and agricultural growth slowed to 3.5% y/y from 4.7% recorded in the previous quarter.

Despite these challenges faced in the north, last week the Borno State government announced the investment of N15bn (US$75m) to boost agricultural activities such as local rice and fish production.

In terms of access to credit for the sector, as at end-June 2015 the total released by the CBN under its Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme to participating banks for disbursement stood at N288bn.

The previous administration favoured (and developed) import substitution programmes for agricultural products so as to slash the country’s food import bill, which stands at an estimated N630bn (US$3.1bn) annually.

Expanding upon the rationale for substitution last month, the permanent secretary for agriculture in Lagos State argued that “a country that cannot feed itself is in absolute terms insecure”.

He also set a target of 25% food self-sufficiency for the state by 2018, compared with the current 10% level.

Earlier this month, President Buhari disclosed that the 2016 national budget would include policies geared towards encouraging diversification, particularly for the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. 

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