Impact Of Agricultural Policy On Economic Development Under The Jonathan Administration

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Impact Of Agricultural Policy On Economic Development Under The Jonathan Administration


Abstract


Nigeria has been faced with bad governance, poverty, terrorism, environmental degradation, oil theft, illegal bunkering, proliferation of small arms and light weapons and transnational crimes among others. Nigerians including President Goodluck Jonathan clamoured for change of Nigeria’s foreign policy direction to meet the emerging trends in the international State system. The Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan is a holistic attempt to reform and transform the Nigerian State. The ultimate goal of the paper is to access the impact of agricultural policy on economic development under President Jonathan’s administration. The study revealed that there was an increase in economic development due to effective agricultural policy implementation.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study:

It is noteworthy that Nigeria is an agrarian country with about 70% of her over 170 million population engaged in agricultural production (NBS/CBN, 2006) and provides subsistence for two-thirds (2/3) of Nigerians who are low income earners (Usman, 2006). While the Northern region of the country can guarantee the production of cereals such as sorghum, maize, millet, groundnut, cowpea and cotton, the Middle Belt and the South have the potentials to produce root tubers such as cassava, yam, cocoyam and other crops like plantain as well as maize (Abdullahi, 2003). In addition to crops, the country is also involved in the production of livestock, fisheries, forestry and wildlife.

Nigeria is generally endowed with abundant natural resources, numerous all-season rivers and a favourable tropical climate. Rainfall is generally adequate and fairly well distributed throughout the country. Out of the 98.321 million ha of land available in Nigeria, about 75.30% may be regarded as arable land, which 10% is under forest reserves and the remaining 14.70% is assumed to be made up of permanent pastures, built up areas and uncultivable waste. In the light of the foregoing, agriculture is still a major sector as well as remains the cornerstone of the Nigerian economy (Salami, 2006; Igboeli, 2000).

Prabuddha and Babu (2010), put that agricultural policies in Nigeria have undergone four main phases: The first from 1960 to 1969; the second from 1970 to 1979, the period of the oil boom; the third from 1980 to the late 1990s, during the structural adjustment program (SAP); and the current NEEDS framework. After independence agriculture provided most of the country’s food, earned most of the foreign exchange and generated a substantial proportion of government revenue at the early stages of economic development in Nigeria. The abundance of food and cheap labour in the rural settings across the nation during this period resulted in complacency on the part of the government thereby putting the enactment of a virile and strong policy in the doldrums for decades.

The purpose of agricultural policy is the development of favourable and sustainable guidelines for the promotion of agricultural practices that will guarantee food security, provide employment for the citizens, raw material for all agro – based industries as well as to earn foreign exchange. It is the synthesis of the framework and action plans of government designed to achieve overall agricultural growth and development (FMA, 2001).

The mild food scarcity of 1960 to 1970 stirred up the government to concentrate briefly on food production. This was evidenced in the planned expenditure (PE) of 1962 to 1968 when 9.8% of the PE was allocated to the entire agricultural sector. Between 1970 and 1982 agricultural growth stagnated at less than 1% with sharp decline in the production of export crops. Similarly, per capital calorific food supply declined from surpluses in the 1960s to a deficit of 38% in 1982 when Nigeria turned a net importer of vegetable oil, meat, dairy products, fish and grains, notably rice wheat and maize with the food import bills rising astronomically (FMA, 1984, 2001).

As part of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s effort to revamp the agriculture sector, ensure food security, diversify the economy and enhance foreign exchange earnings, the FMA under the President Jonathan administration has embarked on a Transformation Agenda with a focus on the development of agricultural value chains, including the provision and availability of improved inputs (seeds and fertilizer), increased productivity and production, as well as the establishment of staple crop processing zones.

President Goodluck E. Jonathan once submitted that “Nigeria can no longer continue to be a sleeping giant…; it has to wake up and if we wake up, we must begin to do things differently”. His agricultural policy framework is to address reduction in post-harvest losses, improving linkages with industry with respect to backward integration, as well as access to financial services and markets. The Transformation Agenda targets rural communities particularly women, youth and farmers associations as well as improving rural institution and infrastructure. This research work is therefore directed at examining the effect of Agriculture Policy and Economic Development under the Jonathan Administration with Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture as the basis of the study.


1.2 Statement of Problem:

The agricultural sector has suffered from years of poor management, inconsistent and poorly implemented government policies, government neglect of agriculture and lack of basic infrastructure. Agriculture accounted for 30% of the GDP in 2010 (World Factbook, January 9, 2012).

Nigeria is no longer a major exporter of cocoa, groundnut, rubber and palm products. Coca production mostly from obsolete varieties and over-aged trees are stagnant at around 150,000 tones annually. There is also a decline in groundnut, palm oil and other major export crops (United States Department of State, 2005). The decline in agricultural production was largely due to the rise of oil shipments (Abdullahi, 2003). Because of this development, the President Jonathan’s administration initiated a policy framework to overhaul the agriculture sector. But little has the popular Transformation Agenda done to promote economic development orchestrated by sound agricultural policy for the country.

Before the discovery of oil, agriculture was given the needed attention and impetus. But all of that is now illusion, as oil extraction has become the economic mainstay of the economy with it multifaceted macro-economic twin evil of unemployment and inflation.

The FMA (2001) propounded these as some fundamental weaknesses that impede the effectiveness of agricultural policies and program implementation in Nigeria:

A hostile environment where macro – economic policies and the agricultural policy are in disharmony thus resulting in escalating costs of production and reduced purchasing power of farmers. Inconsistency and instability in macro – economic policies which discourage medium and long term investments in agriculture. The report also showed that the Nigerian agriculture lacks storage facilities and these have led to so much wastage and high cost of storage. This hinders the availability of source perishable agricultural produce through the year, therefore hindering agricultural development.

Another negative factor is dependence on weather which affects the increase in agricultural produce. Nigeria Agriculturists or farmers still depend on rainfall only to produce instead of the use of irrigation that supplies water all through the year.

Moreover, the agricultural sector is poorly financed in Nigeria. Farmers do not get credit easily from financial institutions, like commercial banks. The agriculturists find it difficult to finance projects which are capital intensive. Scholars have specified the need to diversify the economy, as a way of promoting economic development (Ojekunle, 2011). But it is not clear how this could be done. Hence, the study is necessary to come with how agriculture serves as an instrument for economic development.


1.3 Objectives of the Study:

The main objective of this study will be to examine the effect of agricultural policy on economic development under the Jonathan’s administration.

Other specific objectives include:

  1. To determine the nature of agricultural policy under the Jonathan’s administration.
  2. To find out the effect of government finance on agricultural output.
  3. To identify challenges facing the role of agriculture in promoting economic development.
  4. To provide plausible recommendations and on how agriculture can promote economic development.

1.4 Research Hypotheses:

Presented below are formulated hypotheses to be tested in the course of the research study;

Hypotheses 1:
  • Ho: There is no significant relationship between agricultural policy and economic development under the Jonathan administration.
  • Hi: There is a significant relationship between agricultural policy and economic development under the Jonathan administration.
Hypotheses 2:
  • Ho: There is no significant relationship between government finance and agricultural output.
  • Hi: There is a significant relationship between government finance and agricultural output.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This research work on the impact of agricultural policy on economic development under the Jonathan’s administration will be useful to policy makers and the government to know where to channel agricultural resources for better agricultural yields and hence effective economic growth and development. This study has the potential to strategically improve the practical steps in implementations of the government agricultural policies through its advocacy on reforming the public bureaucracies in Nigeria especially those concerned with the implementation of government policies on agriculture. In this regard, this work is a practical pain staking “post mortem” surgical examination of the problems of Nigerian agricultural sector as well as the way forward. It will also be useful to other researchers who intend to embark on this or further related study.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study is primary concerned with the impact of agricultural policy on economic development under the Jonathan administration. This study/project work covers the Federal Ministry of Agriculture Enugu. The researcher encountered some constraints, which limited the scope of the study. These constraints include but are not limited to the following

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Agricultural Policy:

Agricultural policy describes a set of laws relating to domestic agriculture and imports of foreign agricultural products. Governments usually implement agricultural policies with the goal of achieving a specific outcome in the domestic agricultural product markets.

Economic Development:

Economic development is the process by which a nation improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its people. It is the growth of the standard of living of a nation’s people from a low-income (poor) economy to a high-income (rich) economy. When the local quality of life is improved, there is more economic development.


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain a critical analysis of impact of agricultural policy on economic development under the Jonathan Administration.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations are made, which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefit in addressing the challenges of agriculture and economic development.


5.2 Summary

This study aimed at having a critical analysis of impact of agricultural policy on economic development under the Jonathan administration. were raised. These objectives include: To determine the nature of agricultural policy under the Jonathan’s administration, to find out the effect of government finance on agricultural output, to identify challenges facing the role of agriculture in promoting economic development, to provide plausible recommendations and on how agriculture can promote economic development.


5.3 Conclusion

Based on the above findings pertaining to the objectives of the study the following conclusions are drawn.
it is observed that the beneficiaries of government agricultural policies in Nigeria are not the actual targeted population group in the agricultural dominated activities. This as we have observed from our research findings lead to frequent failures of agricultural policies in Nigeria. This finding does not dismiss the fact that some respondents disclosed that there are some procedures to ensure due process in the implementation of agricultural policy benefits to farmers. However, our observations from the majority of the respondents showed that greater number of the intended beneficiaries hardly benefit from such policies and programmes. Findings showed that in most rural communities in Nigeria, the awareness and implementation of these policies do not adequately descend to the rural farmers.


5.4 Recommendation

  1. Formulation stage of public policies involves identification of problems. Therefore, formulation of agricultural policies should endeavour first to identify the problems of Nigeria’s agricultural sector in areas of social, economic, environmental/physical and political problems that affect the outcome of agricultural policies in Nigeria.
  2. Also adequate assessment on social economic and environmental impact analysis of agricultural policies should be carried out before formulation. This will help in providing pragmatic solutions to the problems of agricultural sector.
  3. It is important that agricultural micro-credits be made available to farmers in order to assist them purchase necessary agricultural inputs for mechanized farming. One way of achieving this by adequate funding of the agricultural sector especially the implementing agencies such as Nigerian Agricultural and Co-operative Bank (NACB).
  4. The implementation of agricultural policies should be well monitored by both government and non-governmental agencies. This is because implementation is the most sensitive stage of the success or failure of agricultural policies and programmes. And from our research findings, there were evidence those agricultural policies record implementation leakages. This tends to create a scenario, where by unintended beneficiaries hijack the benefits of agricultural policies and programs.
  5. There is need to strengthen the administrative capacities of the implementing agencies in order to effectively discharge their duties. Also government should ensure motivation of staff of the implementing agencies by providing incentives to them and urge them to pursue vigorously the goals and objectives of agricultural policy. One aspects of the motivation of staff of the implementing agencies should including staff training and re-training.
  6. Government should endeavour to improve the marketing of agricultural produce both at local and international markets. At the local level, government should build more local markets and establish more agro-industries to enable the rural farmers’ sale their produce. On the international level, it is good to guarantee export subsidies in order to encourage farmers’ sale their produce in the international markets.
  7. Establishment of agricultural research institutes across the country will also go a long way to solve most of the problems of the agricultural sector. The establishment of research institutes will help in providing reliable information on agricultural issues. In other word, the findings record by these research institutes will be immensely valuable to policy-makers during the formulation of agricultural policies.

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