The approval of ‘The Green Roadmap’ by the Federal Executive Council this week marks the fifth major agricultural development plan embarked upon by the Nigerian government since independence.
1. Operation Feed the Nation
In 1976, the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo launched the operation feed the nation programme. The programme was necessitated by a growing threat of food insecurity, it was meant to encourage able-bodied Nigerians in the rural and urban areas to participate in farming to feed themselves. Every available piece of land was meant to be cultivated while government provided inputs and subsidies. This was quickly followed the River Basin Development Authority scheme in the same year with the aim of boosting economic potentials of the existing water bodies particularly irrigation and fishery. Hydroelectric power generation and domestic water supply were secondary objectives of the scheme.
The programme set its aims and objectives as follows:-
- Total mobilisation of the nation towards self-sufficiency and self-reliance in food;
- Encourage the sector of the population which relies on buying food to grow its own food, e.g. schools, universities, Military Establishments etc;
- Encouraging general pride in agriculture through the realisation that a nation which cannot feed itself cannot be proud;
- Encouraging balance nutrition thereby producing a healthy nation.
Lack of sustenance of agricultural policies, inadequate provision of fertilizers to farmers as well as over centralisation of implementation was identified as key factors responsible for the failure of the Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) programme of the Federal Government in 1976.
- Green Revolution
In 1980, the Shehu Shagari administration inaugurated the green revolution programme with basically the same objectives as its precursor, Operation Feed the Nation, of the previous military era.
Green Revolution was introduced to reduce food importation and increase local food production in Nigeria.
The objectives of the Green Revolution are better illustrated by the agricultural objectives of the administration’s Development Plan which states as follows:-
- Increase production of food and other raw materials to meet the needs of a growing population and rising industrial production; a basic objective in this respect is the attainment of self-sufficiency in food in about five years;
- Increased production of livestock and fish to meet domestic needs and create a surplus for export;
- Increased production and processing of export crops with a view to expanding and diversifying the country’s export earn ing; in this respect a target of seven years is set for revival of our cash crops;
- The expansion of employment opportunities to absorb the I increasing labour force of the nation;
- The evaluation of appropriate institutional and administrative operations to facilitate the rapid development of the country’s agricultural potential;
- The Government will encourage production of agricultural commodities on a commercial scale in the areas of food crops, tree crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry.
- Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI)
In 1986, the Administration of General Ibrahim Babangidia’s launched yet another agricultural programme designed to focus primarily on the rural areas of the country. The Directorate for Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) was set up as an Agricultural strategy on food security.
The objectives of the Directorate whose pioneer head was Prof Jerry Gana were as follows:-
- Substantially improving the quality and nutritional balance of food intake of the rural people;
- Raising the quality of rural housing as well as general living and working environment in the rural areas;
- Creating greater opportunities for human development and employment, particularly self employment and thereby enhanc ing their income level;
- Making it possible to have a progressively wider range and variety of goods and services produced and consumed by rural people themselves as well as for exchange;
- Improving he lath condition of the rural people;
- Use enormous resources of the rural areas to lay a solid foun dation for the security, socio-cultural, political and economic growth and development of the nation by linking the growth and development activities of the rural areas to those of the lo cal government areas, the states and the nation;
- To ensure deeply rooted and self sustaining development pro cess based on effectively mobilised mass participation, starting from the grass roots and encompassing the entire nation.
- Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA)
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan inaugurated the National Economic Transformation Agenda in 2011 with the aim of diversifying the economy from oil, guarantee food security and create jobs, especially for the youth.
It was also designed to promote agribusiness, attract private sector investment in agriculture, reduce post-harvest losses, add value to local agricultural produce, develop rural infrastructure and enhance access of farmers to financial services and markets.
ATA sets out to create over 3.5 million jobs along the value chains of the priority crops of rice, sorghum, cassava, cotton, cocoa, oil palm as well as horticulture, livestock, fisheries, etc.
The Agricultural Transformation Agenda sets its objectives as follows:-
- To identify and promote science-based solutions for cassava, rice, and sorghum value chains through technology verification, production, and diffusion of quality seed and planting material underpinned by sound seed systems.
- To enhance skills acquisition and job creation through the development of agribusiness, processing, and marketing, and the promotion of youth entrepreneurship.
- To ensure effective program management, monitoring, and evaluation using appropriate and quantitative results measurement frameworks to assess progress.