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Buhari Accused Of Failing In The Agricultural Sector

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At independence in 1960, agriculture was the largest contributor to the Nige­rian economy, accounting for about 63 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domes­tic Product (GDP), which is typical for developing agrarian nations.

As at that time incomes were derived from the ex­port of major cash crops like rubber, cocoa, palm oil, cashew nuts, ground­nut and cotton, cassava among others and provid­ed about 70 per cent of ac­tive labour for Nigerians. But from the 2013 rebased figures the agricultural sector contributed 21.97 percent or N17.625 trillion ($112.26 billion) of the to­tal N80.22 trillion ($510 billion). This compares with N14.71 trillion ($93.7 billion) in the old non-re­based estimates for 2013.

With the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari administration on May 29, 2015, farmers were optimistic that the agricultural sector would experience the much awaited change, expected to transform the sector.

Though, President Mu­hammadu Buhari, has con­tinued assuring the nation that developing the sector and ensuring food security in the country remained a priority to his administra­tion. One year under the President’s watch, agri­culture has experienced tremendous set back as the prices of farm produce have gradually become out of reach for consumers of fresh tomato, rice and gar­ri among others.

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The prices of some ag­ricultural items have sky­rocketed across the major markets in the country.

For instance between 2014 and April 2015, the price of rice was stable in the market even dur­ing the Christmas period, when it sold for N9,000. Today however, a bag of rice is being sold for about N17,000 while one bas­ket of tomato that used to sell for about N4000, to N6000 before is now be­ing sold for N12,000 and a custard plastic of garri that sold for N250, now sells for N750 over night.

However, some stake­holders and farmers who spoke to Daily Sun scored Buhari’s administration a lean 5 per cent in agricul­ture sector, just because of his appointment of Chief Audu Ogbeh as the Minis­ter of Agriculture and Ru­ral Development.

Yet other stakeholders in support of President Muhammadu Buhari in­sist that one year in office was not enough to judge one’s performance. They said the budget has just been approved and that with time Buhari will turn the sector around.

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