An assessment report, “Enabling The Business of Agriculture 2017” put together by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in partnership with the World Bank Group, has ranked Nigeria among countries with more agribusiness friendly regulations.
It also it rated Nigeria high especially in the area of regulatory frameworks for finance, fertilizers, machinery in agribusiness.
The Program Manager of World Bank Group, Farbod Youssefi, disclosed the report during a one-day workshop for the Enabling Business of Agriculture (EBA, 2017) Report for Nigeria, organised by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in Abuja yesterday.
However, Youssefi noted that Nigeria has slacked off in the area of seeds, markets, transport, water and ICT while livestock sector, facilities and operational capacity were not considered.
He said, “Well, it’s not mine to say what the government should do or not to do but what I can do is to share the evidence of this report, which is basically the tool which compares the regulations in Nigeria; the laws and regulations for agribusiness with some other countries.
“When you do the comparison, you find that there are some areas where Nigeria has weaker laws and regulations than other countries. Those areas are seeds, markets, transport, and ICT.
“Now, there are other areas such as finance, fertilizers, machinery where the scores in Nigeria are actually higher than other countries. Still, there are some areas where improvement can be made.
“The evidence really highlights those opportunities to improve the regulatory framework for agribusiness here in Nigeria.”
The Country director, Dr. Kehinde Makinde, said for business to flourish, it needs conducive environment. “So what this report does is to go through different countries to examine regulations in different sectors like seeds, fertilizer, machinery. We are tracking this to be able to show how countries are faring against the benchmark in other countries. There are 62 countries under consideration in this report. And we’ve been able to see how Nigeria is faring in respect to other countries on regulations, reforms.”
So the essence of the report is to provide information that policy actors like the private sector, legislators, executive, to see what level Nigeria is and what needs to be done to improve.
He however said the quality of the data gotten for the report depend on the quality of data gathered from those that gave the information. And that the report talked about the situation in the country and not about a particular state.
In the same vein, the Adamawa State Commissioner for Agriculture, Waziri Ahmadu, said that the country has good frameworks but lacks the political will to implement them.
“What happens in Nigeria really is not legal and regulatory issues that are the problem. In most cases, we have very good frameworks but when it comes to implementation, it’s a completely different kettle of fish,” he said.
He urged FG to increase the already available 30, 000 functional tractors to 300,000 to 400,000 tractors in the country because of the current population.
“I just take the example of machinery; we are only about 16 out of the 62 countries that have been assessed, which means that we should be doing very well but unfortunately, the reality is that in Nigeria, the tractor density is so low; it’s like one tractor to 3,000 hecters of land.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who was represented by a deputy director in the ministry, Mr Ukata Benard, said the report will be of great relevance to Nigeria economy, stakeholders, developmental partners, private sector, civil society, and farmers, adding that in 2013, the analysis of data on laws and regulations collected by EBA yielded important result.