Nigeria Spends $20b On Food Importation Yearly
Minister Promises To Cut Agric Interest Rate
THE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has lamented the huge expenses Nigerians make on importing food into the country, disclosing the total amounting to $20b per year.
He made the disclosure at the closing of the 41st National Council on Agriculture held at Kano Government House, expressing his worry over the over-dependence of Nigerians on foreign stuff.
“A total of $5m is expended on the importation of rice to the country, while Nigerians spend $6m daily on importing maize into the country, among others,” he revealed.
According to Ogbeh, many things were responsible for the downturn of agricultural sector in the country, emphasising that programmes like Udoji of the 70s were responsible for some of the tragedies facing the agricultural sector in the country. He said the Udoji award moved people away from farms and to pursue becoming contractors.
Another factor adversely affecting agricultural sector, the Minister said, was the issue of agricultural interest rate. Assuring that, “Agric interest rate in Nigeria must come down to five per cent. No nation can develop when its agric interest rate is nine per cent, as obtained currently in the country. “
Ogbeh further noted with dismay the role being played by banks in the agricultural sector as practiced in the country and condemned what he described as ‘elite arrogance’ in the nation’s agricultural sector.