CONSUMERS PREFERENCE CRITICAL TO AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA – KUST VC
The Vice Chancellor, Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Prof. Shehu Alhaji Musa, has said consideration of consumption preference is critical to agricultural development in Nigeria.
The professor of Agricultural Economics and Extension, worried that inspite of the huge deposited natural resource, Nigeria is still listed by Food and Agriculture Organisation among nations who are technically incapacitated to meet its food demands.
The don, who made the submission while delivering the 46 series of professorial inaugural lecture at Bayero University, Kano at the weekend emphasised on value addition, consumption pattern as key factors that determine agricultural viability in a country.
In the presentation titled ‘Crossing The Chasms of Agricultural Development in Nigeria: consumer Preference Studies, Market Integration Syntheses and Value Chain Diagnoses to the Rescue’, Shehu dissected the clear demarcation between production and meeting consumer preference.
The VC submitted that given the enormous qualities and contributions of agriculture, the sector has not performed as expected essentially in the past four decades due to inadequate supply of inputs and the refusal to pay attention to the food demand, value chain and consumption pattern of consumers.
Professor Shehu contended that Nigeria agricultural policy must pay quality attention to Supply-Response Model which creates smart integration between production, value chain addition and consumers preferences to attain sustainable agriculture and food sufficiency.
The vice chancellor declared that despite policy interventions, the agricultural sector is still largely underdeveloped, principally because substantial concentration is devoted more on production, rather than on enhancing value addition across value chain segments.
Shehu pointed out that FAO prediction also came even when the federal government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) projected Nigeria’s self sufficiency in tomato paste, rice and wheat by 2020; target that was yet to materialise because of the large and continuous dependency on importation.
Besides, he noted that ERGP prediction also emphasised on increase in the value of agricultural production by 31 per cent with tendencies to boost the country’s revenue by N21 trillion by the end of 2020.
While applauding the border closure policy of government, the university administrator cautioned on the possible negative implication of the reopening of the country land borders on local production of products with competitive advantage.
He advocated deployment of technologies in the area of post-harvest and storage facilities to reduce produce damage, especially in the north, just as he called for revamping of extension services to all agricultural clientele groups, as well as improving budgetary allocation to agric sector to improve food sufficiency.
“Nigeria has great potentials of becoming the food basket of the West Africa sub-region given that she is endowed with a huge expanse of arable land, beneficial climate, abundant streams, lakes, forest and grassland as well as large, active population that can sustain a highly productive agriculture. But we have failed to recognise significance of consumption pattern.
“ In any economy, consumer preferences and demand constitute the bedrock, which influence the production decisions of producers, since consumer’s satisfaction is the major target of producers if they are to stay in business. The much talked about value addition in agriculture is founded on the preferences and demand of consumers,” Shehu said.
Chairman of the professorial lecture and Vice Chancellor, Bayero University, Kano, Prof. Sagir Adamu, explained that the lecture series are designed to enable professors showcase output and relevant of their research findings.
Sagir, who expressed satisfaction on the 46 edition of the professorial lecture posited that the presentation will add value to policy implementation on agriculture and improve body of knowledge in the academic development.