FG vows to stop food smuggling from Nigeria
The Federal Government has vowed to stop the smuggling of food from the country, in order to attain self-sufficiency and food security goals.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, who disclosed this during a working visit to the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Oyo State, said the government would be working with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other agencies to stop the smuggling of food out of Nigeria.
While emphasising the need to curtail the smuggling of food, the minister said: “One of the things we are doing is dry season farming, which is beginning next month, and we will intensify that. We also make sure that all the agencies we are working with, the customs, for example, do not allow smuggling of food out of this country.
“This is because we don’t want to have a food shortage. We have no shortage of food right now. I am telling you categorically’’.
The minister, who said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has done tremendously well in re-jigging the agric sector, pointed out that agriculture has gone digital, adding that the research institutes have a lot to offer in this direction.
“Agriculture today is all about research, innovation and science. In agriculture, as a whole, we are talking about practicing smart agriculture, technology-based digital agriculture. All research institutes have so much to offer, especially NIHORT. I am impressed with the array of products this institute is producing.
“Just now, I saw an orange tree that will produce three different oranges on one tree, this is amazing and incredible. I am happy that I come here,” he said, assuring that, “We just got a waiver to employ more researchers, developers and people of science origin that would help to boost research and development.”
While welcoming the minister, the Director/Chief Executive Officer, NIHORT, Dr. Lawal Attanda, who lauded the minister for his support, said his considerations had enabled the institute to run smoothly and make faster progress.
He said: “Over the years, inadequate supply of electricity has affected our operations adversely. For instance, we recorded losses of large amounts of genetic materials that were vital to our research activities during the days of erratic power supply.
“Your efforts led to the facilitation of the presidential waiver, which made it possible for the institute to recruit essential personnel to boost its manpower. We particularly appreciate this because the institute has not been able to do this in the last seven years. We are grateful for the opportunity provided to attend the genetic capacity-building and management of gene bank.”