The Agricultural Policy for Nigeria is a sectoral national policy in force for the period of 1985-2000. The main objective of the document is to further develop and improve the performance of the country’s agricultural sector.The Policy envisages a series of measures to enable more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems. Among others, it provides for a water supply for food crop production to be increased through the construction of irrigation structures, dams and boreholes in strategic food crop production zones. Further, it notes that subsidies will be selectively granted on farm inputs, farm equipment and facilities and farm services to reduce the cost of agricultural production and if necessary, on agricultural product prices to enhance farmers’ revenue. Moreover, the document also pertains to growth of specific areas of agriculture, for example in the subsector of livestock and fish production. Finally, the document also ensures an effective and efficient utilization and conversion of agricultural by-products.As part of efforts to reduce rural poverty, the Policy notes that the Government aims to develop agricultural cooperatives and to evolve a virile system which will facilitate their practice and use in agriculture as an effective vehicle for social and economic development at the grass-root level throughout the federation. It also plans to use agricultural cooperatives as machinery for rural transformation and development which will affect the various aspects of rural life. Furthermore, the Policy promotes agricultural extension, technology development and transfer. In this area, its major objective is to teach the rural people to raise their standard of living with minimum assistance and by their own efforts. Government will therefore, be concerned with the dissemination of useful and practical information relating to agriculture, the practical application of such knowledge and the mobilization of farmers’ resources for the purpose of improving their welfare. In addition, agricultural crediting measures are contemplated.As part of the similar measures, the document is also concerned with agricultural products storage, processing and marketing. Regarding the storage, the objectives of the Policy are: (1) to enhance inter-seasonal and inter-year food price stability; and (2) ensure a higher food security for the nation through efficient food storage programmes. As with agricultural products processing, it aims (1) to widen the demand base for agricultural commodities and hence, accelerate the rate of growth of the agricultural sector; (2) to preserve perishable agricultural commodities thereby reducing their level of waste and the degree of their seasonal price fluctuations, and (3) to diversify employment opportunities in rural areas through the establishment of rural-based small-scale agricultural commodity processing industries.Further, the document also provides for agricultural research and statistics. With regard to the former, it includes measures such as the development of improved and high yielding production materials such as seeds, seedlings, fingerlings and so on as well as the development of appropriate technologies in the areas of land preparation, planting, harvesting, processing and storage of farm produce which are not only efficient and economical but also capable of reducing the usual drudgery of farming. The document also provides for land reform. In particular, it notes that the objective in this reform is to rehabilitate those areas of the country that are now affected by drought, desert encroachment, soil erosion and flood and to prevent the spread of these natural disasters to other areas through effective protection measures. The Policy, being mainly concerned with agricultural production growth, also pertains to an issue of forestry and notes that the policy on forest products and wildlife will aim at achieving self-sufficiency in wood products through the employment of sound forest management principles and techniques as well as the mobilization of human and material resources.The Policy discusses the issue of disasters as well. Among the measures in this area, it provides for agricultural insurance whose major objective will be the protection of Nigerian farmers against the effects of natural hazards through the operation of a mechanism that ensures quick indemnity (compensation) sufficient to keep these farmers in business as well as provide necessary back-up to government policies on agricultural development. It is also intended to make loans available to farmers and improve loan recovery. In addition, the document also provides for pest control.The Policy sets out responsibilities of the Federal, State and Local Governments and the exact mode of operation in some of the areas of intervention.
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