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Unlocking Agricultural Potential: The African Continental Free Trade Area and Nigeria's Food Production.

25/01/2024

African farmers banana
 

Nigeria commonly acknowledged as 'Africa's Giant!' Possess vast natural resources, grapples with substantial hurdles I'm Agriculture and food production. These challenges encompass concerns such as insecurity arising from banditry and the volatility in the dollar exchange rate. However, there is a glimmer of hope with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This blog will explore the ways in which AfCFTA could bring about improvements in agriculture and augmenting food production in Nigeria even amidst these obstacles in.


1. Access to a Larger Market: One of the significant benefits of the AfCFTA is that is offers to Nigeria's agricultural sector a chance at the broader integrated market. By the removal of trade barriers and tariffs among African countries, Nigerian farmers and agri businesses can now tap into a market consisting of over 1.3 billion people. With this extended market, there are significant opportunities to enhance production and the exportation of agricultural items.



2. Economic Diversification: Oil has historical been the cornerstone of Nigeria's revenues. The AfCFTA presents an opportunity for economic diversification by stimulating investment in the agricultural sector.  Through expanded trade in agricultural goods, Nigeria can diminish its heavy reliance on oil, effectively addressing the challenges posed by a higher dollar exchange rate.



3. Supporting Small-Scale Farmers: Small-scale farmers are the building blocks of the Nigeria's agricultural sector, yet they often grapple with difficulties accessing markets and resources. AfCFTA holds the promise of facilitating the integration of these farmers into regional and global supply chains, giving them better access to markets, technology, and financing.



4. Better Infrastructure: To fully utilize the advantages of the AfCFTA, there is a need for enhanced infrastructure, encompassing transportation and storage capacities. Investigating in infrastructure will not only facilitate the movement of agricultural commodities but will also have the added advantage of job creation and stimulating economic growth.



5. Enhanced Productivity: With the AfCFTA introducing greater competition, Nigerian farmers will find the impetus to elevate their productivity and product standards, to maintain a competitive edge in the regional market. This pursuit of excellence can drive the adoption of superior agricultural practices and ultimately lead to higher crop yields.



6. Addressing Food Security: Insecurity resulting from banditry has disrupted agricultural activities in certain regions of Nigeria. The AfCFTA indirectly plays a role in addressing this problem through its proportion of economic growth and poverty reduction, key elements in mitigating security challenges. Furthermore, enhanced agricultural productivity can contribute to food security by increasing the availability of locally produced food.



7. Export Opportunities: AfCFTA offers fresh horizons for Nigerian agricultural exports. By conforming to regional quality standards and regulations, Nigerian agricultural products can gain increased appeal to neighboring nations and the broader global markets. The resulting increase in foreign exchange earnings could play a role in stabilizing the exchange rate.



8. Value Addition and Agro-processing: To fully capitalize on the benefits of the AFCFTA, Nigeria should place a strong emphasis on value addition and agro-processing. This means transforming raw agricultural materials into finished products like canned foods, processed meats, and packaged snacks. Value addition not only prolongs products life but also leads to job creation and increased earnings for farmers.



Conclusion:



The African Continental Free Trade Area presents significant potential for advancing agriculture and increasing food production in Nigeria, even in the face of challenges such as banditry and currency rate fluctuations. Access to larger market and economic diversification and backing for smallholder farmers stands as pivotal factors that can propel this transformation. However, archiving the full benefits of AfCFTA will necessitates converted efforts involving the government, private sector, and international allies. By seizing this opportunity, Nigeria can lay the foundation for a future marked by increased food security and economic stability for its population.


By: Hadiza Bagudu

+2348068077926


 

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