Nigeria’s New Growth Plan Targets Agriculture for Economic Stability
By Lela Winston
On April 5, 2017, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari launched this Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. The three-year plan, is slated to target three areas of sustainability, which include national security, corruption and revitalizing the economy. The plan seeks to achieve an economic growth rate of 7% by 2020, which would be fighting a continental downward trend in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the IMF Regional Outlook for Africa, the growth rate for 2017 is projected below 4 percent.
Buhari’s ambitious plan comes on the heels of the approval of a $200-million-dollar (USD) World Bank loan aimed at boosting agriculture. The loan targets small to mid-sized farmers and is estimated to benefit 300,000 farming households. Buhari’s plan undoubtedly targets agriculture as a new avenue for sustainable growth to wean the nation from its dependence on oil revenue. In 2016 Nigeria experienced its first recession in 25 years, when oil prices fell. The recession underscored the need for Nigeria to focus on diversifying national production and ensuring that individual Nigerians were rapidly employed in the growth of the new economy.
The plan’s agricultural target is unmistakable, as the presidency has also sworn in new executives for the Agricultural Bank of Nigeria and put focus on new agricultural techniques in cassava farming and livestock feeds. The plan is taking shape across Nigeria with all sectors in preparation or participation. In October of 2016, Kano State Governor, Abudllahi Ganduje disbursed 1 billion naira (USD $325,998,370). in interest-free loans to 517 farmer’s associations as a part of the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS). These moves among others, signals a palpable turn toward new agricultural industries at all levels of the Nigerian economy.