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An Overview Of The Legal Framework Within The Nigerian Agricultural Landscape – Real Estate and Construction – Nigeria – Mondaq News Alerts

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It is no doubt that the agricultural landscape in Nigeria holds a lot of attraction for players within the space and even investors, especially now when the country is making conscientious efforts to look away from oil to her other natural resources.  Before the discovery of crude oil, agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria's economy and accounted for an average of 57% of GDP and generated 65% of export earnings. Food output however declined after independence as focus shifted to oil. With the decline of oil prices, the Nigeria government introduced diversification with focus on growing the economy through agriculture.
Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in April 2020, showed that the agricultural sector contributes about 21.96 per cent to the nation's GDP, which is the monetary value of all finished goods and services made in the country.
This paper aims to discuss the Nigerian agricultural legal framework with regards to regulation of the sector in order to enhance optimum productivity.
In 2011, under President Goodluck Jonathan's administration, an Agricultural Transformation Agenda was launched, managed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The intended outcome of the agenda is to promote agriculture as a business, integrate the agricultural value chain and make agriculture a key driver of Nigeria's economic growth. To achieve this agenda the government put in place several measures, inclusive of; new fiscal incentives to encourage domestic import substitution; removal of restrictions on areas of investment and maximum equity ownership in investment by foreign investors currency exchange controls – free transfer of Capital, Profits and Dividends; constitutional guarantees against nationalization/expropriation of investments; zero percent (0%) duty on agricultural machinery and equipment imports; pioneer tax holiday for agricultural investments; duty waivers and other industry related incentives e.g., based on use of local raw materials, export orientation, amongst others.
The present administration, under President Buhari, GCON adopted the already set roadmap with the implementation of several agri-biz initiatives, one of which is the  Anchor-Borrowers Program, currently being driven by the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
An agricultural value chain is comprised of the several stakeholders who facilitate in getting the product to the end user. These will include; Input suppliers, Primary producers also referred to as farmers ,Wholesalers (agents or traders) and processors, Manufacturers, Retailers, Financial Institutions including Banks, Microfinance Banks, and other Loan Houses, Government owned or other institutions such as, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Regulatory Bodies like The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), etc.
As a country, Nigeria is blessed with several natural resources which, if well managed, could be a gold mine contributing far more than the present to the nation's GDP. A major and identifiable set-back for the agricultural sub-sector is proper regulation. This may not unconnected with a dearth of an extensive legal framework for this purpose.
The increased interest in the agricultural landscape must be matched with a reciprocal increase in the regulation of the sector. It is opined that the time has come to harmonise the existing laws into one formidable body of laws for the purpose of establishing a legislation which is not only functional but recognized by all actors within the sub-sector with a view to making agriculture even more attractive and profitable and thus enhance the economic growth of the country.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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