There has been a recent call for diversification by economists and public analysts from crude oil as Nigeria’s major export and source of revenue due to the continuous fall in the international price of oil. This has been met with applauds because of the present state of the economy.
The state of unemployment, the continous drop in price of crude oil and the advocacy for greener energy by European countries have all contributed to the discusssion surrounding other avenues of revenue generation which the Nigerian government can explore to lessen the burden on the oil sector and also give rise for other platforms of economic development and growth.
Agricultural investment as it stands goes far in answering the question of where and what to diversify the economy into, Nigeria largely being an enabling environment for agricultural activities is yet to take its place in the comity of nations producing a large chunk of the world food. Nigeria has the land, the people, the culture and the resources to become the food basket of the world as it seeks to develop it’s economic problems.
The federal government of Nigeria has prioritised agricultural development under its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which seeks to create new jobs in labour-intensive sectors including agriculture, boost agriculture’s GDP contribution to more than 8% annually by 2020 and make the country a net exporter of key crops including rice, cashew, groundnuts, vegetable oil and cassava.
The government is moving to build on steady recent growth in both crop production and agricultural exports through a number of policies, including the development of staple crop processing zones (SCPZs) and reforms to the quality control process.
Cassava and sugarcane have particularly high potential for export growth, as evidenced by major private investments, one of which will see a new biofuel plant established in Kogi State, potentially linking to one of 14 planned SCPZs.
An avearage Nigerian investor at a time like this needs to look no further than staking all inputs into agricultural investment as it assures great positive indexes in the overall economic analysis of the country and with more attention from the government; agro-investment can be said to be the ‘next big thing’ for investors who are ready to create employment, build a greener environment and curb food shortage.