H. Pierson Report Outlines States’ Commitment to Agric Sector

0

Obinna Chima
H. Pierson Associates has unveiled a report which outlined the commitment of states in the country towards the agricultural sector.

The report titled: ‘Optimising States’ Agricultural Comparative Advantage,’ pointed out that at the Second Ordinary Assembly of the African Union in July 2003, in Maputo, African Heads of State and Government had endorsed the ‘Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.’

The Declaration contained several important decisions regarding agriculture, but prominent among them was the, “commitment to the allocation of at least 10 per cent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years.”

To this end, H. Pierson tracked the performance of Nigerian states with regards to their respective budgetary allocations towards agriculture to determine their compliance with the declaration.
The key performance indicators (KPIs) that were used in evaluating the performance of the states were based on budgetary allocation to agriculture in the last four years in line with the Maputo declaration; food crop production comparative advantage of states; quantity (Tons) of crops produced per year by states, and the number of agricultural processing centers.

The report identified about 15 major crops produced in Nigeria, in which the country has comparative advantage. It listed them to include rice, maize, millet, sorghum, yam, cassava, cowpea, tomato, cotton, ginger, sesame, soybeans, and vegetable, among others.

The findings showed that based on budgetary allocation, Kebbi had the highest allocation for agriculture in 2017, followed by Katsina, Plateau, Cross River and Akwa Ibom. Only Kebbi met the 10 per cent threshold of the Maputo declaration and others were able to allocate at least five per cent of their total budget to the agricultural sector.
Also, the H. Pierson report showed that Kwara, Lagos and Edo had the least percentage allocation for agriculture in 2017 with less than one per cent allocated to the sector.

Similarly, Kebbi had the highest allocation for agriculture in 2018, followed by Katsina, Jigawa, Ogun, Benue, Plateau and Gombe, with only Kebbi also meeting the 10 per cent threshold of the Maputo declaration.
In the same vein, Lagos and Ondo had the least allocation for agriculture in 2018, with less than one per cent allocated to this sector.

“Kebbi had the highest allocation for agriculture in 2019 followed by Gombe, Ekiti and Ogun. Although all four did not meet the Maputo threshold, they were able to allocate at least five per cent of their total budget to the agricultural sector. Kaduna, Kwara and Lagos had the least allocation for agriculture in 2019 with less than one per cent allocated to this sector.
“From the trend analysis, Kebbi was the only state able to meet and also surpass the Maputo threshold of 10 per cent allocation of the state’s budget to agriculture as seen in 2017 and 2018 by allocating 10.05 per cent and 11.39 per cent of its budget to agriculture.

“Kebbi also ranked highest in the budgetary allocation to agriculture for the four consecutive years (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020). Lagos State was the only state that allocated less than one per cent of its budget to agriculture continuously from 2017-2020.

“Although Kebbi was a top level performer in moving towards the 10 per cent threshold, the annual growth rate is still lower than six per cent. No state achieved an annual growth rate of six per cent. Generally the Northern regions of the country performed better than the Southern regions in terms of budgetary allocations to agriculture within the years of consideration. The north-east came top followed by the north-west, north-central, south-east, south-west and the south-south regions. However, all regions did not meet up with the Maputo Declaration,” it revealed.

H. Pierson in the report stated that the size of arable land with favourable weather condition needed for agriculture to thrive in Nigeria has never been in short supply, adding that agriculture was Nigeria’s major foreign exchange earner prior to the advent of oil as every region had its comparative advantage in agriculture. It pointed out that in that period, the northern region had groundnut that it produced better than other regions, while the eastern and western regions were dominant in palm oil and cocoa respectively.

What has been plaguing the country since after the discovery oil in 1956 in Oloibiri in the Niger Delta by Shell-BP is total lack of focus on the sector by successive governments and over reliance on revenue from oil, it stressed.
According to the report, the discovery of oil became somewhat of a curse than a blessing.

“With the volatility in oil prices which poses a major challenge for states in Nigeria, coupled with other alternatives to crude oil such as shale oil and other sources of energy, it has become very clear that the over-reliance on oil as the major revenue earner is no longer sustainable. This is more so, as it is evident that global and local economies will never be the same post COVID-19. This then creates an urgent imperative for the states to start to think about life outside revenue from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“The contribution of Nigeria’s agricultural sector (which comprises crop production, forestry, animal husbandry and fishing) to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2020 accounts for 21.96 per cent of the nation’s GDP.
“This was the sector’s highest first quarter contribution in the last two years when compared to 21.89 per cent in 2019 and 21.66 per cent in 2018. Nigeria’s GDP stood at N16.7 trillion in Q1 2020, in actual terms, agriculture contributed about N3.7 trillion to the nation’s GDP in Q1 2020,” it added.