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Minister of agriculture decries food imports in Nigeria

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A container-laden vessel

Farmers eye N220b yearly from cashew production
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, has decried the increasing rate at which African countries, especially Nigeria import food and other agricultural products from other continents.

He spoke yesterday at the opening ceremony of the annual African Conference of Agricultural Economists (ACAE) in Abuja, insisting that with the abundant resources available on the African continent in terms of fertile land and cheap labour, importation of agricultural products can only be a disservice to the region.

Nanono, who was represented by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mohammed Umar, noted that the major challenge facing the continent was its inability to unlock its potential by promoting agriculture.

His words: “Africa is a continent with enormous potential for agriculture, yet we are faced with food insecurity where a tangible percentage of the world’s arable land is in Africa.

“We have no reason to import food because the potentials are there. What remains is for us to tap the potentials. We have no reason traveling around. We need to remain in the region to promote the agricultural sector.”

Speaking, Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu, noted that the conference came at a time when the World Trade Organisation (WTO) failed to reach an agreement on how best to promote the agricultural sector.

He argued that agriculture was the most distorted subject of international trade presently, warning that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement might not achieve its purpose in the absence of proper funding.

Meanwhile, CASHEW farmers under the auspices of HOMENA Agribusiness Consulting Limited has said Nigeria could generate up to N220b annually from cashew production if the sector is properly coordinated.

HOMENA Director of Administration, Dr. Onuche Victor, who stated this in Abuja at a media briefing, lamented that the sector was expected to contribute up to N50b annually to the Nigerian economy, but has failed to meet expectations.

He disclosed that the group was bringing together foreign investors and cashew farmers to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) worth N3.6b to boost cashew production in Nigeria, adding that the collaboration could move the initial N50b to N220b annually.


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