Why Nigerian firms must increase food productivity

11 total views, no views today

Nigeria needs to increase food productivity to contain growing population.

The country is 201 million people currently, making it most populous in Africa, and with 2.6 percent annual growth, it promises to surge further.

Food production is not growing at the same pace as yield per hectare remains low and production cost remains high.

“The only two ways of doubling food production are through investment and science,” Scott Angle, director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the United States and former CEO of International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), told BusinessDay recently in Washington DC, United States of America.

“You will need to move from small-scale subsistence agriculture to more commercial agriculture,” he said, while addressing Nigeria and Africa’s food production model.

Nigeria has seen investments in flour, poultry and rice, but key investments are still lacking in Nigeria’s flagship crops, frustrating manufacturers who use them as inputs. Cocoa players complain that there have not been major private investments in the last six to seven years.

“Nigeria’s cocoa average yield per hectare is among the lowest in the world and this is due to old age of most cocoa plantations,” said Anna Muyiwa, plant biotechnologist, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CAN),

“We need to rehabilitate our old cocoa trees in all cocoa producing states. A completely rehabilitated cocoa plantation of proven clone will produce as much as 2.5 tons per hectare,” Muyiwa said, stressing the need to develop more hybrid varieties.

Wheat is hugely imported by flour millers whereas cassava is not turned into starch locally owing to poor equipment.

Nigeria is one of the least mechanised farming countries in the world with the country’s tractor density put at 0.27 hp/ hectare which is far below the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recommended tractor density … Read More...