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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Revenue: Economists urge FG to harness agriculture potential

Some Economists have called on the Federal Government to intensify efforts to harness the potential in agriculture sector to generate more revenue for the country.

They made the call on Thursday at the Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, during a seminar jointly organised by the institution’s Department of Economics and Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research (CEPDeR).

Prof. Evans Osabuhien, the Head of Economics Department, Covenant University, Ota, said that the call became necessary as it was only the agriculture sector that recorded positive growth during the 2016 and 2020 recession.

According to him, the Federal Government should leverage agricultural potential in the country and that harvesting of agricultural products, processing and packaging should be improved.

These, he added, would create more value chains and employment opportunities as well as income for the government.

“When the country is able to produce enough, process and package enough and meet local demands, these would help to address the continuous inflation rate experienced due to heavy dependency on imported goods.

“There is the need for the Federal Government to look inwardly by taking practical steps in the issue of irrigation, improve on nation’s storage facilities and processing facilities.

“This is because the sector has a lot of potential to boost the country’s revenue.” he said.

Dr Gershon Obindah, Senior Lecturer, Economics Department . Covenant University, stressed the need for Federal Government to encourage farmers to embark on mechanised farming.

Obindah said that mechanised farming would encourage the participation of more people in agriculture sector.

“The government needs to grant credit scheme that would help and assist mechanised farming system and agro-allied industries in the country.

“In addition, the country should leverage its population by empowering rural farmers and providing agricultural system programmes which would meet their immediate needs.’’

He said that the agricultural products provide opportunity for agro-allied industries to export their goods and in the process generate employment opportunities for the teeming youth.

Obindah urged the Federal Government to provide tax credit and subsidies for farmers and agro-allied industries in order for them to thrive and operate at optimal level.

Also speaking, Dr Joseph Phiri, an International Visiting Scholar to Covenant University, said that the agriculture sector was the driving force to generate more revenue.

According to him, the sector will also boost domestic saving as well as increase the capital base of the country for development.

Phiri, who is also an economist, urged the Federal Government and other African countries to leverage their agricultural comparative advantages to predicate and stimulate economic growth.

“There is the need to provide resources that aid research and development as well as provide accessible markets for the farmers.

“Nigeria and others countries have agricultural comparative advantage like good rainfalls, nutritious soil and graze lands that could generate more revenue through effective policies and legal framework that protect the rights for farmers,’’ he said. (NAN)

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