The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has charged the federal government to fashion out measures that will enable Nigeria achieve its economic diversification agenda through agriculture.
In an interview with NAN on Saturday, Edobong Akpabio, chairperson, LCCI agriculture and agro-allied group, expressed optimism that agriculture will help to revive the economy.
She identified limitations such as unfavourable loan interest rates, unrealistic collateral requirements, onerous application procedure for loans, insufficient loan size and maturity date, as hindrances to the agricultural sector.
“Others are, poor infrastructure, multiple taxation and charges. These issues should be mitigated, if the diversification goal of the government is to be achieved through agricultural interventions,” she said.
Akpabio attributed the current hike in prices of food and other commodities to the ripple effect of the increasing cost of funding, insecurity, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on planting.
She explained that the lockdown occasioned by the pandemic began around the time planting was to commence, which restricted farmers from accessing their farmlands.
“Terrorists and herdsmen-farmer clashes have also affected food production with farm invasions and destruction. Farming is not like a factory, as it takes time. The solution is to galvanise the populace by teaching them how to farm,” Akpabio said.
“Everybody has a backyard or access to some land where basic vegetables and cash crops can be planted for consumption and sale.”
She also noted the importance of improving local fishing species and resources in order to reduce foreign exchange (forex) spent on fish importation.
Akpabio added that the LCCI is collaborating with the government on programmes to encourage urban farming and self-reliance in agriculture.