Should Agric Exports be Discouraged in Nigeria?

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Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture raised the alarm that Nigeria may experience famine as early as January 2017, if the Federal Government does not move urgently to stop the alarming outflow and export of agricultural products (especially grain crops) from the major markets in the Northern parts of the country to countries as far away as Libya, Algeria and Brazil. The hike in export was caused by increased demand by other nations for Nigerian food products (both processed and raw) and the lure of foreign revenue from export proceeds. However, since the country is yet to attain self-sufficiency in food production and successfully tackle hunger, some analysts want an official restriction on export of agricultural (food) products. To you, should agricultural exports be checked or discouraged in Nigeria?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* We should celebrate this feat that Nigeria’s export drive is marching forward. Genuine exporters who are legitimately displaying their entrepreneurship acumen in a recessed economy should be supported and encouraged. The federal, state and local government should eliminate all forms of discrimination against the rural farmers who account for 70 per cent of local food production. A constructive engagement with the smallholders at their respective communities to produce more food for local consumption and for export will create more jobs for our youths and women.
– Mr. Ikpa Matthew, Asokoro, Abuja FCT

* Sure, it must be discouraged for now till we are self-sufficient.
– Mrs. Mary Adeola Ayeni Tehinse, Lagos State

* When agriculture was the major source of our county’s revenue, things were a lot easier. But diversion into the liquid gold as our major revenue source not only destabilised our agricultural system but created serious urge to steal proceeds from the sale of oil with reckless abandon. Agriculture should be encouraged, as it will help in fixing our economy. If our teeming unemployed are empowered to go into agriculture, it will create employment and food for our nation and enough foreign exchange when exported etc.
– Mrs. Rosemary Nwaebuni, Asaba, Delta State

* No, it shouldn’t be discouraged; instead, government at all levels and banks should aggressively finance agricultural products/produce export to boost our economy. We can still feed ourselves at the same time.
– Mr. Sunny Okobi, Lagos State

* Agricultural exports should be controlled, in my opinion. There is no sense in allowing unbridled exportation that would leave a bitter taste in the mouth. We have a rough idea of how much of each produce we consume in Nigeria. We should harp on self-sufficiency first.
– Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R. Associates, Apo, Abuja

* No, let it not be discouraged. If we are to starve, let it be so. Maybe it will spur us to demand the right things from those in authority. Hasn’t the government been mouthing diversification of the economy and advocating a shift from dependence on oil? Recall that some tomato farmers suffered terribly earlier in the year when they had bountiful harvests with no market to take their proceeds to. If I were a farmer, I would not heed the government’s call. Let Nigerians starve.
– Mr. John Ogunsemore, Lagos State

* It is a dicey situation.
– Mrs. Bridgetta Affiah, Warri, Delta State

* Yes, exporting our agricultural products must be stopped urgently as we are undergoing traumatic economic recession now. Avoidable starvation is staring us in the face; we must not give in to it. We must process and store our foods for at least five years upfront before thinking of selling any excess to other nations. We must prioritise our welfare first. We have no moral, social, economic, legal e.t.c. justification to allow self-inflicted starvation amidst abundant harvest.
– Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* It’s quite unfortunate that such calls for banning of export of agricultural products is coming at this critical period when Nigeria is facing serious economic recession. Rather than stop exportation to other countries, government should take advantage of it to increase productivity through mechanisation and all-year-round production. Government should wake up from its slumber and do the needful and seize the opportunity.
– Mr. Wole Ayodele, Jalingo, Taraba State

* Yes, agricultural exports under whatever guise must be banned outrightly and nationally. We are in a biting recession, prices of food, services e.t.c. have gone haywire, therefore I see no genuine wisdom (not even capitalism) in exporting what we need urgently especially these yuletide times. Nigeria must be very self-sufficient before embarking on exportation. Without enough food, security can never be guaranteed with the current inflation and pathetic state of nationwide unemployment. Government must only encourage and protect local production now. God bless Nigeria.
– Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos

* We should feed ourselves first.
– Mr. Feyisetan Akeeb Kareem, Coordinator, CDHR & BFON, Aniocha South LGA, Delta State

* It is necessary. We know that during harvest period in Nigeria, all agricultural products are so cheap, especially here in the North. Right now a poor man cannot dream of buying a bag of maize, and can only afford to eat rice when he attends parties. Charity begins at home; it is a shame that government is encouraging the export of agricultural products to deceive the world that all is well with us when many are dying. The answer is capital NO!
– Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* Yes, harmful export of our agricultural products must be discouraged before we get into serious trouble in terms of local food supply. There is nothing wrong with generating new foreign revenue or expanding our market horizons, but this should not be at the expense of our own food security. With the way things are going in the agricultural sector, Nigeria will soon achieve self-sufficiency in local production of vital food items; then and only then should we consider mass export as a second option for any excess.
– Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

* The root cause of the ongoing massive food exports is actually due to the fall of the Naira. While the currencies of countries buying these grains have remained stable, the naira has lost so much value that foreign currencies are the attraction for exporters. For example, when grains are taken to Niger Republic, the businessmen are paid in CFA and when they return to Nigeria and change to naira, the profits are huge. The Federal Government should shore up the Naira fast. Our external reserves can be used to strengthen our currency and keep all the food from going out. In the time being, stocking up on some food is wise.
– Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* It is not time for Nigeria to export food products outside because our population is huge to cater for, from the little we are producing. All the three tiers of government should make the 2017 agriculture budget allocation larger to boost food security.
– Mrs. Ijeoma Nnorom, Lagos State

THE FEEDBACK

Yes, it should: 6
No, it shouldn’t: 2
Others: 7
Radical tip: Stock up food!
Total no of respondents: 15
Male: 10
Female: 5
Highest location: Lagos (7)

Next Week: Can Assets Declaration Help Curb Corruption?
Although President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice publicly declared their assets when they assumed power in 2015, some cabinet members and senior government officials in the three arms of government did not. Analysts believe the public declaration of assets by these government officials – both when taking and leaving public office – will help curb official corruption in Nigeria and prevent siphoning of commonwealth resources to foreign accounts. However, others believe potential looters will only become more creative concerning assets declaration. To you, can public declaration of assets help curb corruption in Nigeria?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (December 15 & Monday, December 19) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, December 22