By Victoria Onehi
The Minister of State for Finance,Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba has said agriculture contributes 24 percent to the GDP while the oil sector contributes 7 percent hence Nigeria needs to push towards value-addiition for agro products to be able to earn more from the sector.
Agba said this when the National Gender Steering Commitee with the support of the Development Research Projects Centre (dRPC) under its Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED) project paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
” Our economy used to be mono economy when the oil sector was producing 90% of our revenue.In terms of contribution of oil sector to the GDP,its about 7.2 percent , agriculture is 24 percent contribution to the GDP.. So, agriculture is contributing more.But the issues with agriculture and other sectors has been identified in the National Development Plan.
‘” Our products are still commodities,no value addition.Which means we need so much value-addiition today.” Agba said.
However, the Minister said the National Development Plan has put things in place to help the agricultural sector.
” That is why the Plan talks about Integrated Rural Development were we take infrastructure to the rural areas. In 2020, we gave 17 billion naira to spend in rural roads around the agro-corridor just to help for the evacuation of food products.And the reason we did that is because our post-harvest loses is put at 60 percent.i.e every 10,000 tonnes of food that is produced,6000 goes to waste.It does not go the market.” He said.
The Director, Special Duties at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Fausat Lawal, who led the delegation of the National Gender Steering Committee said the National Gender Policy on Agriculture has 11 objectives.” One of the objective is training of women and youths in commercial agriculture through processing and value chain development.” She said.
The President of Association of Women in Trade and and Agriculture (AWITA) Mrs Ruth Agbo,one of the Associations sponsored by the Development Research Projects Centre (dRPC) through its Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED) project said the informal sector which is driver of the economy needs to be empowered more.
” If the informal sector is not empowered, we can’t have the standardised products we are talking about. Our joy today in AWITA is that dRPC has brought us to this limelight through their Economic Empowerment project,PAWED. They have put us at the point that we go out for advocacies and get some policies changed to support the smallholder farmers especially women.”Agbo said.
She asked the government to help train more women farmers in all the agricultural value-chain to a level were they can do the production processing,storage, packaging and labelling of their products.This she said will enable their products to be accepted globally and the country will earn more revenue.