India’s investment in Nigerian Agriculture Sector

The Times of Africa. Vol. 2. Issue3. July –September 2010. Delhi.

Dr. Suresh Kumar

Nigeria is traditionally an agrarian economy rich with natural resources. The soils and climate favours a wide variety of food crops such as bananas, barley, cassava, cocoa beans, coconuts, coffee, corn, cotton, groundnuts, maize, millet, potatoes, rice, soybeans, sorghum, sugar cane and wheat. Estimates indicate that 82 million hectares out of Nigeria’s total land area is arable. However, only about 34 million are being cultivated presently in the northern states of Nigeria such as Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Jigawa, Bauchi and eastern states such as Oyo etc.
Nigeria having a population of 148 million constitutes one of the biggest potential domestic markets in Africa on the one hand and in ECOWAS on the other hand. India firmly believes that Nigeria never accepts the Concept of Aid in terms of quantity and demand quality to be an integral part of economic development. Indian foreign policy believes in self-reliant economic growth in Nigeria that will lead to self-reliant development. The development cooperation should not be based on donor-recipient basis but stand on equal partnership in all sectors including agriculture.
Nigeria needs scientific technology and investors in agriculture sector to make up the difference between the demand and supply. It is up to Nigeria either to adopt another phase of failed experiment of Structural Adjustment Programme sponsored by World Bank and IMF on their terms & conditions or to develop the mutual bond with India to cater to their domestic and regional demand. The Focus Africa Programme of India initially emphasized on seven major trading partners of the region, namely Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana that account for around 69% of India’s total bilateral trade with the sub-Saharan Africa.
The Government of Nigeria had set up various institutions for promoting agricultural production such as Agricultural Development Bank under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development. It focuses on the importation of agricultural equipment and machinery from various countries and also financing of the agricultural projects. Major imports of tractors and agricultural equipments came from European countries, which altogether enjoyed 70-80 per cent of the total market. There have been a few large scale-farming ventures in Nigeria, which operated profitably, particularly for the production of groundnuts, fruits, cassava, yam etc.
About 30,000 Indians live in Nigeria and are engaged in trading and manufacturing. India incorporates fair share of Agricultural Machinery and Tractors in Nigeria and exported worth US$.2.8 million (1999-2000), US$. 3.5 million (2000-2001) and demonstrated an increase in the exports by 20%, amounting to US$.4.2 million, which accounted for about 11% of Nigeria’s total market in 2002-2003. Indian agricultural machinery and tractors attributes the quality of the products, price competitiveness, which suits to the local environment involving less operational cost. The bilateral trade between India and Nigeria touches USD 13 billion in 2008 with the balance of trade in favour of Nigeria having an increase of about $5 billion over that of 2007 (Press Trust of India / Lagos May 27, 2009, 15:57 IST).
Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in Nigeria is concerned about the relative decline of agricultural production of domestic food and industrial requirements. Indian investors are buying land in Africa for agricultural purposes. The sharing of the total produce should be in the ratio of 70:30, where 70 percent should be reserved for the export