Expert Tasks FG On Agric Value Chain


An agriculturist, Mr Ismail Olawale, says there is a need to create an enabling environment and conduct research in efforts to improve agricultural value chains in the country.
Olawale, who is an official of the National Agriculture Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), said this in an interview with newsmen in Lagos, Monday.
It was reported that an agricultural value chain, which entails the flow of products, knowledge and information between smallholder farmers and consumers, also offers an opportunity to boost the value of an agricultural produce at production, marketing and consumption stages.
Olawale said that the creation of an enabling environment for the development of effective agricultural value chains was the panacea to the challenges facing smallholder farmers.
“With the right enabling environment, effective agricultural value chains will provide information on market prices of farm produce, available technologies, agribusiness opportunities and technical know-how to boost the business of the local farmer,” he said.
The agriculturist reiterated the need to create an enabling environment and conduct adequate research in efforts to develop the country’s agricultural value chains.
“There are a lot of factors mitigating against the country’s agricultural value chains; the enabling environment for the development of efficient agricultural value chains is presently not available.
“Developed countries with effective agricultural value chains have a support system in place to aid the process.
“The agricultural value chain will not just work as a theory or a concept.
“Good policies must be enacted; good cultural, socio-political, economic structures and infrastructure must also be in place to influence the evolution of effective agricultural value chains,” he said.
Olawale said that an effective agricultural value chain system would help the local farmer to cut his losses, while providing the necessary information that would boost his business.
He stressed that there was a dearth of transportation and storage facilities for most agricultural produce in rural areas across the country.
“Loss of farm produce is very common in the country, owing largely to poor storage facilities and transportation systems.
“For example, tomatoes ferried from Kano to Lagos are packaged in local raffia baskets and transported in trucks for long hours. Obviously, the tomatoes would have lost considerable value before getting to Lagos.
“The local farmers are aware of this challenge; they count their losses before the arrival of their produce in distant markets but they have no idea of how to address the situation,” he said.
Olawale said that most smallholder farmers were ignorant of the concept of agricultural value chain, adding that there was, therefore, the need for consistent advocacy on the concept.
He also stressed the need to encourage the conduct of more research on how to develop effective agricultural value chains in Nigeria, just like what obtained in developed countries.
“We must start a very strong and consistent advocacy for the local farmer to understand the benefits of the agricultural value chain.
“We must also conduct investigations and surveys on how to develop and effectively manage our agricultural value chains,” he added.