(1) Cocoa – We need to boost our annual harvest to 1m tonnes from the current 330,000 tonnes
(2) Rice – We need to boost our national harvest to 10m tonnes from the current 4m tonnes
(3) Sugarcane – We need a 10m tonne crop, up from the current 38,000 tonnes
(4) Palm oil – We need to boost output to 20m tonnes from the current 1m tonnes
(5) Wheat – We desperately need to boost production to about 10m tonnes from the current 60,000 tonnes
(6) Coconuts – We need to boost production to 10m tonnes from the current 265,000 tonnes
(7) Natural rubber – We need to boost our crop to about 3m tonnes from the current 160,000 tonnes
(8) Maize – We need a crop of at least 20m tonnes, up from the current 110,000 tonnes
(9) Cotton – We need to boost production to at least 3m tonnes from the current 105,000 tonnes
(10) Tomatoes – We need to boost production to about 10m tonnes from the current 4m tonnes
I have not picked these crops at random. With the likes of rice, wheat, sugar, palm oil and natural rubber, we have squandered billions of dollars importing large quantities over the last six decades.
With the likes of cocoa, cotton, palm oil and coconuts, we could make a fortune if we mass-produced them and processed these goods into finished products. As per maize, we desperately need it to replace the millions of tonnes of wheat we import annually.
With all these crops, I have looked at output in countries similar to Nigeria like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Mexico, The Philippines, Brazil, etc. If they can grow all these crops in large quantities, so too can we.
Nigeria could easily save about $10bn in foreign exchange annually with a sensible agricultural policy. We could then generate an extra $30bn from the export of processed foods if we are serious about it.
I sometimes wonder if those responsible for Nigeria’s agriculture live in the real world at all. Why spend $22bn on food imports annually when you could float a hybrid seed company to produce high yielding crop varieties for less than $1bn?
Move your subsistence peasant farmers off the land and into food processing factories, which will then free up farmland for commercial agriculture. This is just basic common sense!