Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture says the country’s agricultural exports to other countries increased by 77 per cent in 2018 due to intensified efforts at diversifying the economy,
According the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe made this known during the “2019 NAPRI Open Day” organised by the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) held in the institute at Shika, Zaria, Kaduna State.
“When we came in, President Muhammadu Buhari said we must diversify the economy and the best diversification is agriculture.
“We cannot afford to spend money on things we cant produce, I think at the end of President Buhari’s tenure, we have a course to rejoice and I will tell you why.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) informed us that in the last four years, we have cut down food import by 21 billion dollars and we have also increased agricultural export in 2018 alone by 77 per cent.
“We have engaged 13 million Nigerians in rice farming and nearly 4 million Nigerians into rice processing; yet, we haven’t started because we have 200 million people to feed,” the Minister explained.
Ogbe observed that unless and until food problem was addressed, no other problem could be solved because there was no machine that needed regular maintenance and service as the stomach.
“That’s why we do service it three times a day, if we can afford it, if we don’t, the stomach sends bad signals to the head and the head misbehaves.
“That’s why you hear of crimes and criminology such as kidnapping, armed robbery and all kinds of wild behaviour which had become a threat to our existence,” he said.
The Minister announced that President Buhari had approved Ruga Settlement for herders, assuring them that government would build settlements where the herders would live, grow their cattle and produce more meat and milk.