Nigeria scored seventh in The Enabling the Business of Agriculture report published December 2019, with an aggregate score of 49.17. The figure is lower than what South Africa and Kenya scored. Both countries got 68.73 and 64.80 respectively.
The report captures steps taken by different governments to help farmers and enhance agriculture and food security. It measures law and regulations that impact the business environment for a sustaining and thriving agricultural development.
The measurement is global with France leading. In Africa, South Africa leads, followed by Kenya and Morocco in the second and third position.
The group presents eight indicators that measures the regulation and bureaucratic processes of about 101 countries in which Nigeria is among the countries. The indicators mentioned include; supplying of seeds, Registering fertilizer, water security, registering machinery, livestock sustenance, protecting plant health, food trading and accessing finance.
Going by the given indicators, Nigeria being the giant of Africa with population of over 200 million people lagged behind some smaller African countries like Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Ghana and Morocco.
Nigeria has the largest number of people living in extreme poverty according to the latest world poverty clock, with very low income and insufficient food despite the repeated food security policy and agriculture is recognized globally as one of the most effective tools or ways of reversing this trend.
Although EBA failed to show data on the indicator's final individual performances of every country, so it is difficult to confirm which particular indicator draws Nigeria backward.
However, between 2016 to 2018, the report shows that Nigeria made big reforms in two out the eight indicators; trading food and sustaining livestock.
"Nigeria made its livestock manufacturing processes safer by requiring facilities to be approved prior to the start of operations, and by requiring that monitoring records be kept, also, Nigeria made it easier to trade agricultural products by publishing the official fee schedule of phytosanitary certificates both online and in the legislation," the report said.
It is still unclear why water security is not part of the reforms made by Nigeria, as it is an essential and basic amenity that should be available in every part of the country.
"Water is a critical resource and it is often a source of risk for farmers, when farmers perceive high risks from insufficient water, they must make strategic decisions. Options may be to grow crops or raise animals that require less water, to invest in storing rainwater on farms to be able to survive dry spells, or to pump groundwater or draw water from nearby ponds or streams. Each of these choices brings its own risks, therefore, farmers need access to water, and regulation affects this," the EBA report said.
According to data from Enabling the Business of Agriculture, in Africa, South Africa made the highest aggregate score of 68.73 followed by Kenya with 64.80 score before countries like Morocco and Zambia that scores 64.02 and 63.73 respectively.
Generally, out of the 101 countries covered by EBA in the 2019 report, France ranks number one with aggregate score of 93.70 closely followed by Croatia and Czech Republic who appears in the 2nd and 3rd position with aggregate score of 92.68 and 92.32 respectively.
In Africa, Nigeria falls below South Africa with 19.59 score difference and 44.53 score difference from France who scored the highest point of 93.70 in the entire 101 countries captured in the report.
According to EBA, countries with better regulation - as measured by Enabling the Business of Agriculture - have an average lower poverty rates.
This reinforces the view of growth in agriculture as an effective lift out of poverty. It suggests that the efficiency gains from higher productivity translate to better incomes for farmers and more employment opportunities for the rural population. Furthermore, countries with better regulation experience average higher rates of food security.
Nigeria can still improve upon areas that the country lagged behind.