Increasing Strategic Agricultural Public Spending in Nigeria: Transforming the sector

With the support of DFID, IFPRI has for many years been at the forefront of measuring how public expenditures affect agricultural productivity and rural poverty. The strategic allocation of public expenditures in agriculture is crucial to ensuring food and nutrition security, and poverty reduction. In Nigeria, increasing agricultural productivity promises positive impacts on the poor, given that a large portion of the country’s labor force remains in subsistence farming, and a large portion of the poor relies on agriculture for its livelihood.

A DFID-funded IFPRI evaluation found that public spending in agriculture between 2008 and 2012 was low compared to other key sectors at both the national and subnational levels, amounting to only 4.6 to 5.5 percent of total expenditures. In addition, a large share of the funds was expended in operations, subsidy payments, and other items that do not create valuable and long-lasting assets. Based on this evaluation, IFPRI facilitated revisions to the national agricultural strategy, which was submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture as an input to the National Agricultural Investment Plan.

IFPRI also led a team to develop a policy matrix as an input to Nigeria’s New Alliance Cooperation Framework, which describes the vision for partnership and mutual commitments between the Government of Nigeria, donors, and the private sector as part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Approved by the Government of Nigeria in 2013, the policy matrix is one of the principal documents in the Cooperative Framework packet. IFPRI recommended that government agricultural spending at the local, regional, and national levels be raised, and that state and local governments increase internally generated revenue to reduce overdependence on federal allocations.

Further, IFPRI’s research revealed that improvements in collaboration across ministries and government levels could reduce the multiple inefficiencies in the budget process and implementation. The findings and recommendations of the study informed the Nigerian government’s decision to prioritize public spending in agriculture and to transform the agricultural sector.