Public-Private Partnership Will Revamp Agricultural Sector, Nigerian Economy

Kunle Adelabu

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R-L, Conference Chairman, Prof. Babatunde Jagun, Rector and Chief Host, Mr Samuel Sogunro discussing with LASPOTECH Deputy Regsitrar(Information)/PRO, Mr Lanre Kuye and Lead Speaker, Prof. Festus Dairo at the opening of the Conference on Tuesday

Experts in the field of agriculture have resolved that partnership between public and the private sector will go a long way in transforming the agricultural sector by increasing food production, and  encouraging service delivery among others.

This was the aggregate view of agricultural experts, government officials, players in private sector, students and others as they gathered at the 2nd edition of the International Conference of the School of Agriculture, Lagos State Polytechnic, starting on Tuesday, April 19 – Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 500-Seater, School of Agriculture Auditorium, Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu. The theme of the conference is “Revamping Nigerian Agricultural Through Public-Private Sector Synergy”

In his lead paper, Professor Festus Ayodeji Dairo, a professor of Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State noted that, “In a distressed economy, private sector participation in government or public institutions has been used to reposition or redirect the management towards achieving the desired objectives and goals.”

Professor Dairo who stated that the low inflow of foreign investment in Nigeria is due to the limited number of companies quoted on the Nigeria Stock Exchange market enjoined policymakers to learn from the India, Kenya, South Africa etc experiences where they have recorded success stories in their agricultural sectors through Public-Private Partnership.

The professor, further stated that agricultural sector employs 60-70% of the nations’ workforce, he blamed the failure of previous government interventions to reposition the sector for productivity on failure of policy implementation.

According to Prof. Dairo, benefits of PPP include, cost effectiveness, standard and quality control is enhanced, enhancement of market and marketing procedures, strengthening of the extension system, enhanced infrastructural development, post-harvest losses of agricultural commodities are reduced, guarantee food security, encourage the formation of farmer’s association, increased production capacity and yields and overall increase in human resource development and export.

Dr Adekunle Akanni of the department of Agriculture Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Yewa Campus, Aiyetoro, Ogun State spoke on the topic, “Fixing Nigeria’s Food Supply Deficit Challenge Through Private-Public Sector Partnership: Myth or Reality”.

In his paper, Dr Akanni stated that the Nigerian agriculture is largely small-holders driven as more than 90 percent of the farmers are small-scale operators and only about 2-3 percent of them sustainably operate large scale mechanized farming  and due to this, he added, “Because of the small-scale operation, the farmers’ food production is much less market-oriented. Furthermore, production inputs consist mainly of land and family labour, capital investment is negligible, modern biological inputs like fertilizers and chemicals are seldom used and the level of production technology is low.”

Other problems enumerated by the lecturer as source of food crisis in the country are: inadequate credit supply, poor marketing and storage facilities, inefficient processing facilities, poor crop and livestock yield among others.

 

As a way out of the country’s food crisis, Dr Akanni proposed a eight-point agenda  for a workable and sustainable private-public partnership investment to revamp food sector in Nigeria.

-Production and commercialization of technologies

-Development of appropriate but indigenous mechanized technology that is compatible with Nigeria farming environment

-Collaboration between Private-Public sectors to support the National Agricultural Storage Programme (NASP) of the Federal government in the silos and warehouse construction across the country.

-Local production of the fertilizers (chemical and organic) that are compatible with the Nigerian soils and are capable of bringing out the best from our farming environment.

-Private-Public partnership in the area of supporting the government in repairing and construction of rural roads as most agricultural production activities take place in the rural areas.

-Investment in the establishment of storage/processing facilities such as cold rooms, processing plants, mobile cooling vans, silos, cribs etc so as to help in expanding the lifespan of the harvested farm products.

-The need for Nigerian framers to move from the subsistence hoe and cutlass agriculture which has remained dominant for decades and the acquisition of modern farm tools such as motorized ploughs, combined harvesters, planters, disc harrows, incubators etc.

-Lastly, Private-Public Partnership is also needed I the area of irrigation technologies in the dry north so that farm output level could be improved.

Mr Samuel Sogunro, the Rector, Lagos State Polytechnic and the Chief host in his welcome address called on the government to perfect Public-Private Partnership arrangement for the purpose of significantly improved services and securing wider benefits for the economy.

“I very much believe that our country shall come out of the current economic crisis stronger if we are careful to foster truly beneficial public-private partnership in the agriculture sector in Nigeria. But we can only achieve results if we are very clear about what we want and how to go about getting it. The key part in PPP arrangements is to have a clear strategy-driven approach” said the Rector.

The Chairman of the Conference, Professor Babatunde A.G. Jagun, a retired professor of Food Animal Medicine and expert in Ethnoveterinary (Alternative) Medicine also called on improved agricultural services and delivery for a sustainable economy.

The Dean, School of Agriculture, Lagos State Polytechnic, Dr Kolawole Gbemavo Godonu stated that the second international conference which is coming after a long break is part of the school’s contribution to the ongoing discourse on revamping the Nigerian economy.

Among research papers and research works being presented at the ongoing international conference are: “Quality of Meat from Broiler Chicken Fed Diet Containing Red Grape (Vitis vinifera) Seed and Garlic (Allium satium) Powder” by Adelabu, A. K, Sanwo, K.A, & Sangosanya, M.; “Philosophy of ‘Developmental’ and the new Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)” by Bolarinwa, J.B.; “Evaluation of Piper guinea and Pirimiphos-Methyl for the Control of Cowpea Storage Weevils (Callosobruchus Fabricius)”, by Benson, G.A.S., Obadofin, A.A., Sosanya, O.S. & Hassan, Q.E., and “Adoption of Improved Cassava Varieties by the Women Farmers in Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State” by Aluko, O.J., Shaib-Rahim, H.O., Kareem A.T. & Marizu, J.T among others.

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