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Future of agricolture in Nigeria

In the five years to 2015, we anticipate strong production growth for most agricultural sectors. However, growth is expected to be particularly high in the case of corn, sorghum, cocoa and sugar (see below). Meanwhile, positive consumption growth is envisaged for all agricultural sectors; we expect growth in the consumption of pork, poultry, milk and sugar to benefit from rising living standards and by an expanding population. Despite their high growth potential, Nigeria's agricultural industries continue to suffer from insufficient investment. The Nigerian government has expressed a commitment to further agricultural development in the quest for improved food security and economic diversification. However, actual investment has been low, particularly when one considers agribusiness contributes almost 42% to Nigeria's GDP and provides employment to around 70% of the workforce. Nigeria's difficult business environment remains a key challenge to encouraging higher levels of private sector investment.

Key Industry Forecasts

- Corn and sorghum are two of Nigeria's staple foods. Due to poor weather, we have lowered our expectation for the production of both grains in 2009/10. We estimate that corn output experienced a marginal fall to 8.7mn tonnes. Meanwhile, we estimate that sorghum production experienced weaker growth of 2.2% in 2010. Our production forecasts for the 2010-2015 period envisage 23% growth for corn and 25% for sorghum. We predict that Nigeria's grains industry will benefit from improved acreage, high prices (in the case of corn), investment in higher-yielding seed varieties and demand from subsectors such as brewing and poultry feed.
- The production of poultry meat will grow by 23% in the five years to 2015, with the production of pork meat expected to expand by a similar amount. Both sectors will benefit from increased government support, improved farming techniques and rising demand for meat. In consumption terms, pork will outperform poultry, expanding by 32% between 2010 and 2015. Our consumption forecasts for both pork and poultry will continue to be affected by the problems associated with product availability and affordability.
- We continue to cautiously estimate a 6.5% increase in cocoa production in 2009/10. Although our long-term forecast anticipates a 23% rise in output to 2015, it should be noted that there are several serious downside risks to our production forecast, with the recovery of Nigeria's cocoa sector remaining far from certain. Notwithstanding the presence of various structural hurdles, the sector has potential to benefit from increased government investment, greater commercialisation, strong global cocoa prices and efforts to develop the cocoa processing sector.
- Our sugar production forecast envisages growth of 44% over the 2010-2015 period; strong growth will be supported by government production incentives, despite coming from a low base. Meanwhile, we anticipate a 43% rise in sugar consumption in the five years to 2015. Growth will be supported by rising disposable incomes and increased demand for sugar as an ingredient for food processing sectors - predominantly soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and confectionery.
- In the five years to 2015, we forecast a 17% increase in rice consumption. Over the last 15 years, rice has emerged as a dietary staple for Nigerians. However, total demand for rice is expected to remain well in excess of Nigeria's productive capacity; this will necessitate a continued reliance on imported grain.

Key Macroeconomic Forecasts

- Nigeria Real GDP Growth 2010 Forecast: 7.5% (up from 6.9% in 2009)
- Nigeria Unemployment Rate 2010: 15.5% (17.3% in 2009)
- Nigeria Inflation (annual average, % chg y-o-y) 2010: 11.8% (12.4% in 2009)

Key Trends

In recent months, attention has been drawn to the need for Nigeria to ensure that food production standards are being enforced. In September 2010, Business Times Africa reported that Nigeria could be on the verge of losing out in the cocoa export business for failing to comply with EU standards governing the use of chemicals used in cocoa production. Quoting the International Cocoa Organisation, the newspaper said that Nigeria's cocoa exports had been found to be of a low standard due to the discovery of substandard pesticides used in its production. Meanwhile, in August 2010, the head of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) reportedly said that abattoirs and poultry farm operators in the country were failing to adhere to production standards. The SON has developed various standards to govern the production of poultry and livestock; these include codes of conduct that are designed to regulate abattoirs and slaughter houses. These stories illustrate the need for clearer regulations and standards to govern food production in Nigeria. Furthermore, where regulations are already in place, there is a need to ensure adequate enforcement, as well as the provision of assurance guarantees to potential agribusiness investors.

by S. C.
10 december 2010, World News > Africa