Agricultural Economists in Nigeria have harped on the need by the Federal Government to re-invigorate agricultural production by providing avenue for commercial agricultural production, backed by improved and efficient marketing system.

The Experts made the call through a Communiqué at the just concluded 12th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economists (NAAE), held at the Banquet Hall of the University of Benin, Edo State, with the theme “From Farm to Table: Whither Nigeria?”

According to the Experts, food will be conveniently and cheaply provided on the tables of Nigerians if agriculture was re-invigorated and backed by improved and efficient marketing system.

Participants, according to the Communiqué signed by the newly elected President of the Association, Professor Peter Okuneye of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), charged the Federal Government and other stakeholders to declare a state of emergency on food crop production in order to improve the nutrient intake and human capital capacity of Nigerians.

The communiqué also recommended that a revolutionary approach should be adopted towards re-energising the agro-processing sub-sector with the introduction of intermediate technology which should be made available at the farm level and enhance a value chain model.

The communiqué further urged government to provide an environment for profitable career in agricultural production for graduates of agriculture who are turned out yearly by the Nigerian Universities and engender overall development of the agricultural sub-sector, through appropriate policy on the creation of enabling environment.

The experts advocated for formulation and implementation of a policy on public/private partnership (PPP) involvement in food storage, while they enjoined both national and international governments and agencies in calling on the Nigerian government to take up the challenge of effectively curbing the issue of policy inconsistencies as related to agriculture.

They, in addition, want government to put in place appropriate programmes and facilities for farmers and agro-processors to access intermediate credit at reduced interest rate, even as they also harped on the need for restoration of subsidy for agricultural inputs and outputs in order to provide a level playing ground between Nigerian farmers vis-à-vis their foreign counterparts.

Noting the wide gap in Nigeria’s laudable policy formulation and appropriate implementation, a situation that has led Nigeria to still remain a net food importer, the experts called on the government to
provide an avenue for agricultural economists.

A new Executive Council was elected and inaugurated, with Prof. Peter Okuneye emerging as President, while Dr. Idris Ayinde was re-elected as the Business Manager.

The Obafemi Awolwo University (O.A.U), Ile-Ife, Osun State was approved to host the 13th Annual Conference of the Association.