e-Naira: Taking Agriculture in Nigeria to New Technological Heights, by Abdulrahman Abdulraheem
Agriculture in Nigeria has an fascinating historical past. A historical past of ups and downs. Lengthy earlier than the invention of oil and gasoline in business amount, from the precolonial and colonial days to the First Republic, agriculture was the mainstay of the financial system.
However when the Black Gold got here alongside, successive leaders misplaced the nation’s priorities and progressively deserted agriculture, textiles, mining, and different vibrant sectors that gave the nation a aggressive benefit over different international locations.
Regardless of a few years of neglect, agriculture has managed to carry its personal within the scheme of issues. It stays the largest employer of labour within the nation. Over 70 per cent of Nigerians interact within the agriculture sector, although primarily at a subsistence stage. The subsistence a part of it must be addressed, and the current administration has finished a few issues in that regard.
The contribution of the sector to the GDP is, nonetheless, spectacular. Between January and March 2021, agriculture contributed to 22.35 per cent of the full GDP.
Nigeria has 70.8 million hectares of agriculture land space with maize, cassava, guinea corn, yam, beans, millet, and rice being the key crops. Nigeria accounts for over 70% of yams produced globally.
Nigeria’s rice manufacturing rose from 3.7 million metric tons in 2017 to 4.0 million metric tons in 2018. Inspite of this, solely 57percent of the 6.7 million metric tons of rice consumed in Nigeria yearly is regionally produced resulting in a deficit of about 3 million metric tons, which is both imported or smuggled into the nation illegally. To stimulate native manufacturing, the federal government banned importation of rice in 2019.
As for cassava, Nigeria produced 59 million tons in 2017, making it the world’s largest producer (roughly 20 per cent of world manufacturing). The financial potential is big, with excessive income yields from each home worth addition and derived revenue in addition to revenues for the federal government. With improved varieties and manufacturing methods, manufacturing is anticipated to extend.
Animal manufacturing has remained underexploited. Livestock largely reared by farm households are the small ruminants like goats (76 million), sheep (43.4 million), and cattle (18.4 million). The ecology within the northern a part of the nation makes it well-known for livestock holding. Along with small and huge ruminants, the poultry inhabitants stands at 180 million, in line with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Improvement. Home demand, nonetheless, outweighs manufacturing regardless of a number of interventions by improvement companions to enhance manufacturing and safeguard in opposition to ailments, together with transboundary animal ailments.
Nigeria is the most important fish client in Africa and among the many largest fish shoppers on the earth, with about 3.2 million metric tons of fish consumed yearly. Its fisheries and aquaculture are among the many quickest rising subsectors within the nation. With a shoreline of 853km and over 14 million hectares of inland waters, whole fish manufacturing per yr is near 1 million metric tons (313,231 metric tons from aquaculture759,828 metric tons from fisheries). Fishing is an important livelihood for the poor in addition to an essential protein supply on the family stage. The aquaculture sub-sector is taken into account a really viable various to assembly the nation’s want for self-sufficiency in fish manufacturing and dietary wants.
Regardless of the contribution to the financial system, Nigeria’s agricultural sector faces many challenges that affect its productiveness. These embrace poor land tenure programs, low ranges of irrigation farming, local weather change, and land degradation.
Others are low expertise, excessive manufacturing value and poor distribution of inputs, restricted financing, excessive post-harvest losses, and poor entry to markets.
These challenges have stifled agricultural productiveness affecting the sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP in addition to elevated meals imports as a consequence of inhabitants rise, therefore declining ranges of meals sufficiency.
For example, between 2016 and 2019 Nigeria’s cumulative agricultural imports stood at N3.35 trillion, 4 occasions larger than the agricultural export of N803 billion throughout the identical interval.
The federal government has applied a number of initiatives and programmes to handle the scenario together with the Agriculture Promotion Coverage (APP), Nigeria–Africa Commerce and Funding Promotion Programme, Presidential Financial Diversification Initiative, Financial and Export Promotion Incentives and the Zero Reject Initiative, Lowering Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+); Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Administration Venture (NEWMAP); Motion In opposition to Desertification (AAD) Programme, amongst others.
All these efforts intention to extend agricultural productiveness so as to present ample portions of meals to satisfy home demand in addition to an abundance of commodity crops for export within the worldwide market. Moreover, they intention at reversing forest loss and degradation; selling sustainable administration of pure sources; rehabilitation of degraded lands, and decreasing erosion and local weather vulnerability.
From the foregoing, it’s apparent that the potential is there although the challenges are huge.
The expertise is obtainable in Nigeria, and the experience is in abundance. Even authorities insurance policies have been beneficial as lately, the emphasis has been to diversify the nation’s income base, deemphasise oil and gasoline, and deal with agriculture.
However what concerning the expertise to drive development within the sector? What about improvements that may make the sector compete globally? What about concepts and imaginative and prescient that may make life straightforward for Nigerian farmers? What about strong and sustainable funding for farmers?
With the growing inhabitants, estimated to succeed in 400 million by 2050, enhanced agriculture productiveness by way of adaptation of recent applied sciences and improvements is critical to make sure meals safety and vitamin. Assist from all companions to the efforts by the federal and state governments is central in reaching this purpose.
e-Naira To The Rescue
Speaking about expertise and improvements, the continuing efforts by the the apex umbrella physique for Agricultural Commodity Associations, the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Affiliation of Nigeria (FACAN), to onboard 50 million members on the e-Naira platform couldn’t have come at a greater time.
FACAN mentioned it has concluded a plan to register and onboard all its associations and members on the e-Naira platform in a strategic partnership with Araba Applied sciences Ltd (Arabatech).
The plan is a fallout from the just lately concluded nationwide assembly of the affiliation’s Nationwide Working Committee and presidents of associations beneath its jurisdiction with the lively participation of Arabatech and CBN representatives.
The Nationwide President of FACAN, Mr. Victor Iyama, famous that e-Naira will likely be of immense profit to all of the members of the Affiliation in the long term right down to the grassroots stage since some members are merchants, or processors, whereas a lot of the members are the farmers on the grassroots. He additionally charged the members current on the inauguration assembly to teach their of us on the grassroots.
The President was s significantly glad concerning the CBN USSD (*997#) innovation, which implies that with out smartphones, BVN or NIN, farmers on the grassroots stage can profit absolutely from the e-Naira platform.
The plan is aimed toward deepening the usage of e-Naira amongst farmers and agro-allied retailers ecosystem within the agricultural sector of the financial system. Arabatech entered right into a strategic partnership with FACAN to begin the e-Naira marketing campaign and onboarding of its 50 million members and associations throughout the nation.
The Nationwide Working Committee and Presidents of Associations unanimously handed a decision for the approval of FACAN e-Naira onboarding of members and due to this fact known as for shut collaboration with the CBN and Arabtech in direction of the profitable implementation of the initiative throughout the timeline.
FACAN is an apex umbrella physique for the Agricultural Commodity Associations within the nation, and an initiative of the Federal Authorities established by way of a public-private partnership association as a one-stop-shop between the federal government and the organised personal sector in Agriculture and a hyperlink between the personal Agricultural Commodity Practitioners. The Affiliation offers members with most advantages for the general improvement of agricultural commodities within the nation.
CBN had appointed Arabatech as one of many official Companion-Brokers for the e-Naira pockets adoption and onboarding marketing campaign within the nation. The marketing campaign is in furtherance of the CBN Digital Monetary Inclusion Technique and Programme, which is aimed toward reaching inclusive adoption of Central Financial institution Digital Foreign money (CBDC) aka e-Naira throughout the county.
Launched in October 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari, the e-Naira was launched by the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, as a retailer of worth and dependable medium of change. The e-Naira innovation was created to focus on the banked and unbanked retailers and people within the nation so as to make transfers, shopping for and promoting simpler, cheaper, and fewer cumbersome.
And because the e-Naira was launched, the CBN has welcomed numerous personal initiatives meant to increase the platform to serve Nigerians higher in areas like well being care, agriculture, fee of payments and so forth.
Once I began my e-Naira analysis, I used to be privileged to work together with the CBN’s Head of Info Know-how, Hajia Rakiya Muhammad. Additionally interacting with the Economic Confidential, she spoke glowingly about a number of the personal initiatives which might be related to agriculture.
“So, this specific firm got here ahead, they work with corporative societies like Agriculture, they provide loans to small holder farmers. However typically time after they give the loans, you understand our folks, they’d use the mortgage to do one thing else, totally different from what they’re meant for.
“So, after they heard about e-Naira, they mentioned they’d companion with us, you understand, to curb malpractices and inefficiencies within the system. And I’m glad to say that now we have concluded the mixing, and we are going to quickly launch. What they do is you’re a farmer, and the affiliation offers you cash, so that they don’t provide you with cash in money. They provide you e-Naira.
“So, there’s what they name enter suppliers. Usually, the farmers will go to them to gather enter after which they pay. Now, the enter suppliers can solely present folks on the scheme, and the farmers can solely acquire what they’re supposed to gather, after which e-Naira prices it. So that is programmed, they usually have concluded that.”
Other than aiding Nigeria’s transition right into a full cashless system, it’s apparent that the e-Naira platform was created to repair all issues and remedy all issues. The wide-ranging alternatives the e-Naira platform offers aren’t what Nigerians can proceed to disregard.