Nigeria Economic Diversification Booms Lake Rice
Nigeria News take a look at the country economic diversification and how far it has gone.
Most adults grew to know about groundnut pyramid, heaps of cocoa seeds and drums of palm oil in Nigeria. The country’s infrastructure, educational institutions were built with money generated from agriculture and mining of solid minerals.
The memory of cotton in the north, coal in the east and kolanut in the southwest lingers. The Nigeria’s economy was diverse and productive.
The discovery of crude oil shortly before independence was a major breakthrough that launched the country into the elite league of oil-producing economy.
There was oil boom, the naira became stronger and better than dollars but unfortunately, the agricultural sector was dying. Successive governments reduced to the minimum, investments on agriculture as they concentrated fully on oil exploration.
Soon, Nigeria became a mono-economy as farming was relegated to the primitive. Government lost interest in exporting cocoa and cotton.
Money from crude oil flowed in regularly and shared among state and Federal Governments. The culture of sharing killed the vision of Nigerian leaders to think out of the box.
The Federal Government plans its budget around the price of the oil in international market, the state government prepare their appropriation bill around statutory allocations.
For years, it has been like this and each time there is global fall in the price of the oil, Nigeria runs around to borrow money to run its budget.
However, the present government decided a few months after it assumed office to diversify the economy so that it does not depend only on oil to survive.
Though a good policy, it has been a very rough road mixed with tough economic recession. The price of oil fell from about $110 per barrel to about $29 per barrel before it began to pick again.
At present, it fluctuates between $40 and $50 per barrel. The good news is that Nigeria agricultural economy is beginning to yield but not yet get to the international scale as it was in the past.
Recently, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture exported tons of yam tubers but it was criticized judging by the merging of profit.
To the members of the public, the Federal Government should not be in a hurry to export when it has not been able to feed the nation. A tuber of yam is still sold between N600 and N700 in Nigeria market.
There is need to flood the market in the country with yam so as to force down the price so that citizens can afford it, rather than exporting it out of the country.
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe stated that the country was ready to export the tuber and that soon it would be exporting rice.
He said that Nigeria would soon become one of the largest exporter of rice in the world. But it sounded ridiculous when the minister came out fortnight ago to tell Nigerians that the Federal Government wanted to export rice but lacked sacks to bag it.
Perhaps the Federal Government would need to learn from Lagos and Kebbi States to know how to do the business of rice.
About a year ago, the two states partnered to benefit from their comparative advantage. The Kebbi State would produce rice to be bought by Lagos State.
It looked like a standing order when the agreement was signed by the governors of the two states, Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos and Alhaji Atiku Bagudu.
Today, it is interesting to note that LAKE Rice is now in Lagos market and it is being sold at N12, 000 per 50kg; N6, 000 per 25kg.
Imported 50kg bag of rice in Lagos open market is sold between N16, 000 and N17, 000. Last week about 70 trailer load of LAKE Rice entered Lagos and distributed across all the 20 Local Governments and 36 Local Government Development Areas of the states for residents to buy.
It is done at every festive period and the current one is for the Salah festival to be celebrated on Friday.