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Experts explain why Local Governments should assign dedicated land for farming  

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An agro-consultant, Ndifreke Ebu has advocated for a land tenure system that involves the assignment of lands for farming purposes within local governments.  

Speaking during the ThePressNG Agricultural Industry Outlook on June 22, Ms. Ebu noted that such a move by the local governments can help farmers enjoy economies of scale, thus reducing the overall cost of food production.  

She noted, “Who can afford lands now? A plot of land goes for a million, or two million, or ten million, and it’s not it’s up to 1000 square metres. This is a significant hindrance to the agricultural sector.” 

This is why we keep telling governments, to assign locations in every local government. If a local government can afford 40 hectares of space to grow a crop, it will go a long way.”  

During the industry outlook, panellists highlighted the constraints around land usage for agricultural purposes. 

Dr Adetoyin Olabode, the CEO of Value Ingredients noted, “In the Northern part of Nigeria, land clearing for one hectare is between N300,000 to N400,000. In the South, if you’re opening a land, you’ll spend nothing less than N1.5 million. 

Recall that in July 2023, the President, Bola Tinubu declared a state of emergency on food security, highlighting 12 key action points, including the “Activation of 500,000 hectares of land for farming and river basins for continuous farming.” 

Ndifreke Ebu, who leads Fresla Agro Consult also advocated for a price regulation mechanism for certain agricultural products.  

She noted, “We should fix prices on our agricultural produces. Take for instance, cashews, and cocoa, they are taken out of the country at a cheaper price, they go and add value to them, and sell to us at a very high price. 

Since the start of 2024, there has been a spike in the global price of cocoa, with cocoa trading around $7,930.90 per tonne as of June 20.  

According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), rising cocoa prices have varied effects on smallholders in the major producing countries, as the extent of price regulation influences how international prices are passed on to farmers. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana use price-setting systems, while Nigeria has a liberalized market. 

The rise in cocoa prices has caused the authorities in some of the top cocoa-producing nations in the world, such as Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to hike their farmgate prices. 

For example, Ghana increased its farmgate price by 58% to about $2,500, while Cote d’Ivoire hiked its farmgate price by 50%.

However, according to IFPRI, the lack of a pricing mechanism has seen Nigerian farmers sell according to prevailing international market conditions.  

According to a report by ThePressNG, it was discovered that the farmgate of cocoa in Nigeria was as high as N8 million per tonne, (about $5,200), more than double the farmgate price in Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana.  

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