?GES can change the face of agro-business?
On July 9, 2012 ? In Finance

By Egwim Melvine

The Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) of the Federal Government ,? which?? is part of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), has been described as a policy that can trigger a business-oriented agricultural investment and growth in the country.

Agricultural Policy Research Network (APRNet) in a release made available to the press by its president, Professor Eric Eboh, said the vision, mission and strategy of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) are well articulated and timely in the country?s quest for becoming among the topmost 20 economies by the year 2020.

He added that ATA is sufficiently holistic, wide-ranging. It contains integrated set of measures and policies to re-orientate and optimize the agricultural sector of the Nigerian economy.

Eboh,? a professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), added that the component features and design of the Growth Enhancement Scheme are good for solving the bottlenecks against private investments in agriculture, agribusiness and agricultural productivity.

?The fertilizer subsidy reforms are rightly addressing the lingering weaknesses and bottlenecks in the fertilizer supply chain. It provides the opportunities to improve efficiency, outreach and impact of the fertilizer subsidy programme.

?The reforms of the commodity marketing system and the proposed marketing corporations are a welcome development. For long, there has been absence of organized marketing for commodities, and it has impacted negatively on agricultural incomes and productivity?

Eboh added ?The fiscal incentives and investment promotion strategies (e.g. tariff realignments, tax holidays) enunciated under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda are pragmatic measures for improving the business environment for investments in agricultural value chains in the country. In particular, the Nigerian Incentive-based Risk Sharing Agricultural Lending Scheme is a significant boost for the agricultural financing and investment landscape in the country.?

The Don described the current value chain approach to commodity development adopted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as a welcome departure from past approaches which tended to be supply-driven, without commensurate strategies to develop market linkages. He said the use of staple crop processing zones to target value chain development is a widely applicable international best practice and should be pursued.

Eboh called on the Federal government to pay more attention to human capacity development as a critical ingredient for agricultural growth and prosperity.? He said, ?main targets for human capacity development include policy implementers, farmers, service providers and farm managers. In particular, the capabilities of the Planning, Policy Analysis and Statistics Department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should be strengthened, to increase their effectiveness in policy coordination, monitoring and feedback. ?

He noted that stronger measures and plans are needed to revamp, rationalize and modernize the agricultural extension services, to make them more responsive, effective and sustainable.

He therefore urged the Federal government to work with the state and local governments to mobilize and assist in developing lasting agricultural extension and farm advisory services suitable for their circumstances, through institution building measures, adequate budget provisions and appropriate public investment approaches.

APRNet is a stakeholders? organisation devoted to promoting agricultural prosperity, economic growth and poverty reduction in Nigeria by using research and evidence to inform and stimulate good and effective agricultural and rural development policies and programmes. Its goal is to make research work for end-users including policymakers, farmers, investors and practitioners.

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