Development of Agriculture in Nigeria

Since 1974 the Bank has committed $1. 2 billion for Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) to increase farm production and welfare among smallholders in Nigeria. OED reviewed five ADPs and a supporting Agricultural Technical Assistance Project (ATAP), all implemented between 1979 and 1990. Only two of the six projects had satisfactory outcomes. In general, rainfed agricultural production was far below projections. Macroeconomic conditions, some national policies, and particular design and implementation problems prevented a more significant impact.
Low-cost irrigated development of lowland areas (fadama) was, however, quite successful. Village water supply components exceeded their targets. The ADPs have evolved to be “permanent” institutions for rural infrastructural development and agricultural services, but their role vis-a-vis the regular state departments needs to be reviewed. ADP concept The ADPs were designed in response to a fall in agricultural productivity, and hence a concern to sustain domestic food supplies, as labor had moved out of agriculture into more remunerative activities that were benefitting from the oil boom.
Conversely, domestic recycling of oil income provided the opportunity for the government, with Bank support, to develop the ADPs. The projects provided agricultural investment and services, rural roads, and village water supplies. The government’s adoption of the ADP concept put the smallholder sector at the center of the agricultural development strategy, and marked a clear shift away from capital-intensive investment projects for selected areas of high agricultural potential. The first ADPs in Nigeria were enclave projects each covering a specific region within a state.

Their early results impressed both the federal and state governments, and there was pressure to replicate the approach across whole states. By 1989 all Nigeria’s then 19 states had ADPs. (See Box. ) Two of the projects audited–Ilorin and Oyo North–were enclave projects, and were located in the “middle belt” of Nigeria whose main crops are rainfed cereals and root crops. The three other ADPs audited–Bauchi, Kano, and Sokoto–were statewide projects in Nigeria’s northern zone. Cropping in his zone is based on rainfed cereal crops and pulses, with localized areas of fadama in drainage lines that can support higher-value crops. The northern ADPs applied an expanded version of the same model used in the earlier enclave projects in this zone. This model demanded large amounts of capital and services and intensive management. With hindsight, not enough thought was given to the implications of the large increase in scale–or indeed to the less favorable production environment than existed in the smaller enclaves.
Goals, content All the five ADPs sought to increase food production and farm incomes. In all of them it was assumed that productivity increases would come from the use of improved technology, especially planting material and fertilizer. The agricultural components of the projects were designed around systems for developing technology and transferring it to farmers, distributing modern inputs, and land development including small-scale irrigation of fadama areas and land clearing.
Investments in infrastructure included an expanded feeder road network, construction of farm service centers for input distribution, and facilities for ADP staff and operations. All projects except that in Ilorin supported improvements in rural water supplies. To support its agricultural development goals the federal government introduced controls on food imports and continued its substantial subsidies on farm inputs, particularly fertilizer.

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