As part of DAWN Commission’s drive to improve the agricultural sector of Southwest Nigeria, the Commission in partnership with the Department for International Development\'s (UK-DFID) Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) Programme embarked on consultative visits to States, meeting with stakeholders to develop a strategy to reposition the Region’s agricultural sector.
The 2-day exercise conducted in each of the six (6) Southwest states focused on selected commodity - rice, cassava, soy bean, aquaculture, horticulture and cocoa with the aim of understudying existing agricultural policies, programmes and interventions across States, regulatory environment for improving agribusiness, as well as market governance frameworks across commodities. Actors across the value chains were engaged to underscore the importance of value chain approach to agricultural development as opposed to the production-focused approach, which limits and constrains the agribusiness space.
Key issues emerging from the exercise include:
• Low funding of the agricultural sector. In cases where budgetary allocations are made, release of funds are not timely and forthcoming. Clearly, this is as a result of the unstable revenue profile of States in the Region.
• Agriculture, despite being the main stay of most Southwest States still contributes very little to their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
• Weak regulatory environment leading to proliferation of substandard agro inputs, produce and food products. There is high dependence on Federal laws and agencies to guide State activities with no structure in place to domesticate and attune these laws to local context for seamless enforcement.
• Dearth of data and poor information management for planning, budgeting and monitoring. Planning is usually done without accurate data on the demand and supply of agro-commodities, services and requirements as well as minimal citizen engagement in policy making
• Weak institutional learning framework in States, which can support replication of learning and good practices emerging from donor-supported programme and projects in the sector. Silos thinking seems to be prevalent in the sector, evident in weak inter-agency collaboration and coordination.
• Weak cooperatives – farmers, trade unions and business member organizations in the Region was also observed, with consequences such as inadequate access to finance, land and other critical input needed for production.
It is expected that an intervention guide riding on the strategy will be developed from the exercise, and used to engage stakeholders and partners in the Region. Southwest Nigeria remains a choice place for investors to invest, especially in the agricultural sector across the six States – Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo. There are evidences of strong commitments from the States to remove bottlenecks and collaborate where necessary to recover and reposition the Region’s Agricultural sector.
DAWN Commission, being the technocratic institution established to midwife and facilitate the development of the States in Southwest Nigeria in partnership with the DFID’s Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), will continue to support agricultural development in the Region