African agriculture suffering due to unnecessary importation ― Gov Bagudu

The Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu has said that the African agricultural sector is currently suffering a serious setback due to the way food which could be produced locally were imported from industrialized world.

The governor also said that due to the way the industrialized world protect their farmers by limiting food importation, and providing subsidies, the African farmers have been unable to compete favourably with its counterpart in the industrialized world.

Governor Bagudu disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the 6th African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) triennial conference.

“Nigerian agriculture is on the right track, but as I said earlier during my remarks, African agriculture generally is suffering the distortions coming from largely the industrialized world because the industrialized world distorts agricultural production.

“There are many commodities we should be exporting to the industrialized world or more which we should be importing, but because of the way they protect their market, they subsidize their farmers that we are unable to compete with them,” the governor said.

Speaking, the President of AAAE, Dr Edward Mabaya said the conference brings together leaders in academia, from the private sector and from industries to address the key challenges facing the African continent in the areas of food security and nutrition security.

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He said series of papers would be presented by experts over the next 3 days which would discuss key issues and give recommendations which according to him would influence government policies, donor investment on agricultural development.

“I’m glad to be here in the occasion of the 6th Association of African Agricultural Economists, this is a conference that we hold every 3 years where we bring together leaders in academia, from private sector and from industries to address the key challenges facing the African continent in the areas of food security and nutrition security.

“Over the next 3 days, we are going to get papers from world leaders and experts in this area discussing these issues and giving pertinent recommendations that will influence government policy, donor investment and private sector investment on agricultural development and issues on the continent.

“The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Africa rising to meet new challenges’. Yes, Africa has got a lot of challenges some of which are from the past, these include low agricultural productivity, gender and equity issues, but we also have new emerging issues that are coming up, these include climate change, digital agriculture.

“We believe that as a profession, we have to remain current by addressing these new emerging challenges that is facing the profession, while also being cognizant of all the challenges that we are still facing in agriculture development across the continent.

“I believe that the continent of Africa cannot develop itself unless we can develop the agricultural sector first,” Dr Mabaya noted.

While speaking with journalists, the Program Coordinator of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), Dr Chrysantus Akem said why they decided to participate in the conference was because the agriculture economists do more of theoretical application, while TAAT does more of the practical.

“Basically when we look at agriculture economist, we see it more like a theoretical application, TAAT, for example, is taking things in the practical sense, looking at how can we optimize production and maximize profit, and that is what agriculture economics is all about, it is about economics of production, economics of finances and we see ourselves like a practical aspect of basically putting agricultural economies into reality.

“That’s why we thought we should participate in this particular conference, we have a panel on Wednesday which we are going to give an overview of the program, what it’s all about, how far we have come and we have the audience to ask questions for clarifications because we think we have to bring everybody on board,” Dr Akeem said.

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