SOURCE: Bradford Associates

March 20, 2015 22:42 ET

Bradford Associates: The Business of Agricultural Reform: President Goodluck Jonathan Establishes a Framework for Achieving Long Term Food Security in Nigeria

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Mar 20, 2015) - The long term strategic environment today requires a society to consider the basic questions such as how to ensure a reliable source of food. Food provides literal energy to people and food security in terms of being self-sufficient is vital in ameliorating the worst of environmental effects of the weather based or pestilence based varieties. Bradford Associates' public policy team recently completed an analysis of agriculture sector reforms.

Nigeria possesses Africa's largest economy today and as recently as 2013 The Economist ran an article sub-titled, "if only Nigeria could reform its farms" reflecting the facts that prior to rebasing of its GDP some 60% of Nigeria's population were farmers.I 2013 seems a long time ago when considering the fast rate of Government led change initiatives that have taken root. By 2050 some predictions indicate that Nigeria could become the world's third most populous country overtaking the population of the United States of America.II

President Goodluck Jonathan sought to increase efficiency in agriculture by providing fertilizer subsidies direct to farmers and the boost in agriculture left to predictions that by the end of this year (2015) self-sufficiency in rice production could be achievedIII in addition to securing foreign investment for the development of the largest rice farm on the African continent in Taraba State.IV

Nigeria Vision 2020, a policy document aimed at identifying and achieving substantial transformation across Nigeria's society and economy posits and agricultural sector growth rate of some 8%. The World Bank has produced supportive studies published by the United Nations Food & Agriculture (FAO) program identifying environmental impact and sustainability of the strategy under different scenario conditions.V

Other innovative ideas have included the use of substitutes to reduce the society's depending on imports, which formerly cost some $4 billion per year. The simple use of some 20% cassava flour with regular flour for making bread is estimated to the have the macro effect of reducing imports by some $800 million per year.VI

In summary, ensuring food security and an advanced agricultural sector requires a great deal of careful policy planning and development, coupled with strong management and the injection of technology and education to make meaningful change. The proof of the pudding is always in the eating. The United States Development Agency has recorded an increase in corn production and corn prices are falling.VII President Jonathan's policy of sure & steady transformation has delivered tangible change to the agriculture sector though, of course, there is still more to be achieved. As the President put it himself, "The time for lamentation is over. This is the era of transformation. This is the time for action."

I The Economist, Feed yourself (May 4th, 2013)

II Forbes, In Nigeria, Agriculture Is 'The New Oil' (May 14th, 2014)

III Reuters, Nigeria's farming reforms still face hurdles, say companies (September 5th, 2013)

IV See Sure and Steady Transformation, volume one page 23.

V See Cervigni, Rogers and Dvorak (eds.) World Bank study 78281 Assessing Low Carbon Development in Nigeria (2013) and

VI Dr. Akinwumi Adesina (Sept 10th 2013) "Transforming Nigeria's Agriculture" (Speech to the Columbia University Earth Institute)

VII USDA (March 13th, 2014), Nigeria Grain and Feed Annual Annual Report 2014

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