President Muhammadu Buhari Speaks on Agriculture!

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that it is obvious to Nigerians that food production and self-sufficiency of the country requires urgent government action .

Buhari made the declaration on Monday March 21, 2016 at the opening of the National Economic Council’s economic retreat held inside the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He expressed regrets that government policies on agriculture have been half-hearted and inconsistent, thus  suffering from inconsistencies and discontinuities noted that the lack of visible impact of government presence on agriculture; lack of agricultural inputs at affordable prices, cost of fertilizers, pesticides and labour are all problems of farming in the country.

Buhari also stressed that wastage of locally grown foods like fruits and vegetables which go bad as a result of  lack of moderate scale agro-processing factories and lack of feeder roads, have all affected agro success in Nigeria.

He equally stated that absence of extension services  in many as well as  importation  of subsidised food products such as rice and poultry have all discouraged  the growth of domestic agriculture in the country.

The president who maintained that the country’s real wealth is farming, livestock, hatcheries, fishery, horticulture and forestry lamented that  issues worth worrying  about included rising food prices, such as that of maize, rice and garri amongst others.

Owing to this, President Buhari has therefore asked the Ministry of Agriculture to collaborate with the states to convene early meetings of stakeholders and identify issues with a view to addressing them as well as to inform the public in all print and electronic media on government efforts to increase local food production to dampen escalating food prices.

He added that banks should be leaned upon to substantially increase their lending to the agricultural sector while the Central Bank of Nigeria should bear part of the risk of such loans as a matter of national policy.

He called on the states to increase their financial support through community groups while the appropriate approach should be through leaders of community groups such as farmers’ cooperatives. He also called on state governments to provide feeder roads to enable more effective evacuation of produce to markets and processing factories.

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