National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP)

Introduction

The important goal of every nation is to attain food security. Over the years, Nigeria has made concerted efforts and developed several agricultural development policies to achieve food security, inclusive growth, sustainable economic diversification and wealth creation. The outcomes of the policies and strategies implemented are mixed. While substantial progress has been recorded, particularly in the production of millet, sorghum, maize, cassava, rice, yam, cowpeas, oil palm and poultry, the country still imports wheat, maize, rice, sugar, fish, beef and dairy products. Also, the share of the agricultural output is dominated by crop production representing 85% while other sub-sectors such as livestock, fisheries and aquaculture and forestry accounted for only 15% (NBS, 2020).
The strategic importance of the agricultural sector to the Nigerian economy cannot be over-emphasized. Its contribution to GDP hovered between 24.45% in 2016 and 25.70% in 2020 (NBS, 2021). The potential of agriculture to rapidly help in achieving food security and economic diversification remains largely untapped. The sector is essentially subsistent with small farm holdings, inadequate cooperative groups, limited technology adoption, low application of good agricultural practices, low access to quality inputs, finance and market. Other constraints include ineffectual synergy among MDAs, poor cooperation among agricultural research and training institutions, input providers and farmers; limited extension services delivery, inadequate rural infrastructure, climate change, poor nutrition, underdeveloped rangelands and grazing reserves; insecurity of agricultural land and investments; insufficient value addition and inadequate agro- industrial processing facilities; lack of standardization of agricultural inputs and outputs as well as outbreaks of Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (TADs).
As the country was charting a new roadmap to scale up the successes of the previous policies to overcome constraints to agriculture, the COVID-19 pandemic struck at the core of its productive sectors. The pandemic disrupted global and domestic socio-economic activities with the agricultural sector severely affected through the shutdown of production facilities and the restrictions on the movements of people and goods. The Committee on World Food Security postulated that the pandemic
would directly impact global food supply and demand, and indirectly reduce production capacity and purchasing power. FAO however predicted that food scarcity is not imminent in post-COVID-19, unlike in the 2007-2008 global food crisis.

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