Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture can be defined in many ways; in reality, it seeks to sustain farmers, resources and communities by promoting farming practices and methods that are profitable, environmentally sound and climate resilient. In essence, if agriculture is not economically viable, socially supportive and environmentally friendly it is not sustainable.

To create an enabling environment for sustainable agriculture, people, resources, and policies are key building blocks. Nigeria, for example, was historically an exporter of much agricultural produce including groundnuts, palm oil, cocoa, and cotton. Today, however, it is known better as one of the largest importers worldwide of agricultural produce. Although its agricultural sector is the highest employer of Labor at about 70 percent of the population, it is not the highest contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

There is certainly an abundance of potential in the country’s agricultural space, as prior to the discovery of oil, it was the economic cornerstone. With a projected population of about 400 (four hundred) million by 2050, the gap that currently exists between the production capacity and national requirements threatens food security, job creation and economic growth of the Nation.

With the disconcerting fluctuations in oil prices in the last several years, the Nigerian government has turned to Agriculture as a potential economic rescue sector. In its medium-term national Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), the Federal Government outlined the pillars for economic growth as agriculture and human resources. The pivotal challenge with the strategy is that about 65% of the population are young people, and many of the youth are not interested in agriculture. Moreover, the current business environment is not sufficiently enabling for Agri-businesses to thrive. For example, limited infrastructure, access to finance and markets, high importation of agricultural produce, and weak implementation of agriculture policies inhibit growth in the sector.

Currently, there are predominantly elderly and uneducated smallholder farmers in the field, many of whom live in rural communities. Their level of education inhibits their ability to accept and adapt good agricultural practices for higher yields, climate resilience, and optimum profits.

To alleviate these challenges, carefully thought out solutions and programs need to be mobilized to make investments and youth engagement in agriculture appealing and commercially viable to contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

With the disconcerting fluctuations in oil prices in the last several years, the Nigerian government has turned to Agriculture as a potential economic rescue sector. In its medium-term national Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), the Federal Government outlined the pillars for economic growth as agriculture and human resources. The pivotal challenge with the strategy is that about 65% of the population are young people, and many of the youth are not interested in agriculture. Moreover, the current business environment is not sufficiently enabling for Agri-businesses to thrive. For example, limited infrastructure, access to finance and markets, high importation of agricultural produce, and weak implementation of agriculture policies inhibit growth in the sector.

Currently, there are predominantly elderly and uneducated smallholder farmers in the field, many of whom live in rural communities. Their level of education inhibits their ability to accept and adapt good agricultural practices for higher yields, climate resilience, and optimum profits.

To alleviate these challenges, carefully thought out solutions and programs need to be mobilized to make investments and youth engagement in agriculture appealing and commercially viable to contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

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