The Federal Government introduction of reasonable tariff in the Agricultural sector is said to protect local production, despite the criticism on increased tariff and outright bans of certain food items Nigeria can produce.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Adewunmi Adesina made this clarification recently to the agriculture stakeholders and stressed that “while lower tariffs will benefit smaller West African economies dependent on imports, they will create major disincentives for local production in Nigeria, where we are trying to unlock the huge land, labour and demand potential to drive rapid agriculture and agribusiness growth.”
He lamented that local production cannot be encouraged in a situation where there is unbridled dumping of cheap low-quality products on Nigerian markets as such a trend would simply discourages the local farmers, increases rural poverty, and also increase unemployment.
NaijaAgroNet gathered from the minister that even though some are clamouring for the reduction in tariff and duty on the importation of crude palm oil, rice, sugar, fish and so on, it is right to ensure that fiscal and trade policies are well aligned to further boost the ongoing transformation in the agricultural sector, while rapid gains are still being made.
“While rapid gains are being made, we must ensure that fiscal and trade policies are well aligned to further boost the ongoing transformation in the agricultural sector. Policies and institutional incentives must be sustained, and we must avoid policy reversals, which have scuttled many efforts in the past. Of particular concern is the issue of the Common External Tariff of the ECOWAS region,” he said.
NaijaAgroNet also learnt from Adesina that “Nigeria should protect its farmers from the effects of dumping of subsidized products smuggled daily into the country. America does it. European Union does it. Nigeria should do the same.”