Launched in 2001, the new Nigerian agricultural policy accommodates most of the features of the old one which was in operation between 1988 and 2000.
Topping the list of the objectives of the new policy include the achievement of self-sufficient of Nigeria in basic food supply and attainment of food security, increased production of agricultural raw materials for industries.
Increased production and processing of exports crops, using improved production and processing technologies also form part of the objectives, others include generation of gainful employment from agriculture, rational utilization of agricultural resources, improved protection of agricultural land resources from drought, desert encroachment, soil erosions and flood, and the general preservation of the environment for the sustainability of agricultural production, promoting increased application of modern technology for agricultural production and improving the quality of lives of people in the rural areas.
In laying the foundation towards a sustainable improvement of agricultural productivity the policy highlighted some strategies.
The strategies entails; creating a more conducive macro-environment target at stimulating greater investment by private sector in the agricultural sector, rationalization of roles of the tiers of government as well as private sector in promoting and supporting agricultural growths, rearrangement of the institutional framework guiding government intervention in the agriculture sector to help the smooth and integrated development in the sector.
The strategies also give room for articulation and implementation of integrated rural development programmes in boosting the quality of lives of rural people, increment of the budgetary allocation and other fiscal incentives to agriculture and promotion of essential developmental, supportive and service-centered activities in improving agricultural productivity.
Rectification of import tariff anomalies with regards to agricultural products and promoting the use of machinery in farming practices.
Roles and responsibilities of concerned stakeholders were also spelt out in the policies in a bid to curb role duplication over and above overlapping functions.
While the federal government as stipulated by the new policy would be responsible for providing a general policy framework which include macroeconomic policies for agricultural and rural development and for the guidance of all stakeholders, the state governments on their parts are responsible for the promotion of the main production of all agricultural commodities by providing virile and effective extension services.
one of the major responsibilities to be carried out by the local government authorities is to provide effective extension service and rural infrastructure in complementing efforts of the state and federal governments, and the private sector is to take the leadership role in investing in all aspects pf upstream and downstream agricultural enterprises and agricbusinesses which also include agricultural commodity storage, processing and marketing.