Thursday, 12 November 2015

Ogbeh To ‘Reduce $32b Food Import’

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Audu Ogbeh yesterday vowed to reduce Nigeria’s $32 billion yearly food import bill.

Chief Ogbeh, in his inaugural news conference, lamented that oil and gas had failed Nigeria, adding that pressure is now on the agricultural sector to earn foreign exchange.

The minister, who was with Minister of State for Agriculture Heineken Lokpobiri and Permanent Secretary Dr. Shehu Ahmad, added that there was need to intensify research and marketing for food.

Ogbeh said: “Oil and gas served Nigeria well. We did not manage the resources well. We can’t blame oil and gas. Now the pressure is on agriculture. How we are going to make it work to respond to yield and harvest is a burden all of us will carry together.

“We are going to face very serious challenges. We have to earn foreign exchange to replace oil. The demand out there is very high if we can produce the right quantity and quality.

“We have to intensify research, marketing of food. We have to deal with reducing the import burden of food, almost $32 billion a year. We have to decide all of us. I don’t know how somebody can explain importing bananas to the country or Irish potatoes from South Africa or vegetables from South Africa into our shores.”

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