The Africa Farmers Management Association (AFMA) on Thursday says that agriculture still remains the most important component of Nigeria’s economy.
Prof. Usman Haruna, the President of AFMA stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar.
Haruna said that although, petroleum overtook agriculture in terms of revenue, the nation was gradually coming to the realisation of the importance of agriculture.
He said Nigeria like most African countries had abundant natural resources but the government needed to support the populace to harness these resources, in order to make the nation productive.
“Prior to the discovery of oil in Oloibiri in 1953, agriculture was the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, even though it was abandoned after the discovery of crude oil.
“Today, Nigeria is coming to terms with the fact that it will not go far if it does not start to harness its agricultural resources.
“However, for agriculture to be successful in Nigeria, farmers need to have access to inputs.
“Most of the farm inputs are either not affordable by the farmers or unavailable locally.
“So, it is important for the Nigerian government to supply inputs to farmers to encourage them to put in their best in agricultural productivity,” Haruna said.
The AFMA president noted that production should be encouraged and supported in African nations including Nigeria, adding that the government must start paying attention to the various value chains.
“Most of the produce we sell abroad are not in their processed form, whereby value is added.
“We can turn cocoa to cocoa powder that can be exported and this will bring more income to the nation instead of selling raw cocoa,” he said.
According to Haruna, value addition does not only attract foreign exchange to the nation but also helps increase the income of farmers and their wellbeing. (NAN)