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Nigeria Loses N1.6T Annually From Non-Export Of Farm Produce

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ABUJA, October 11, (THEWILL) - The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina today disclosed that Nigeria loses N 1.6 trillion annually from the non-export of oil palm, cocoa, groundnut and cotton.

The Minister who disclosed this while presenting the nation’s agriculture blue print to the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture said Nigeria was lagging behind because it failed to maintain its 1961 export volume.

He explained that countries competing with Nigeria in the production of these commodities maintained their dominance due to the strong marketing organisations that linked the farmers to markets and provided inputs.

The Minister lamented that Nigeria has the lowest usage of rates of agriculture inputs as it ranked at the bottom of agriculture indices noting that Nigeria as a country imports more than N1trillion worth of wheat, rice, sugar and fish annually.

According to him, food imports were growing at an unsustainable rate of 11 per cent annually adding that the dependence on imported foods by Nigerians was detrimental to local farmers and creating unemployment.

“Nigeria is importing what it can produce. Import dependency is hurting Nigerian farmers, displacing local production and creating rising unemployment.

“Import dependency is not acceptable or sustainable fiscally, economically or politically,” the Minister stated.

Adesina stressed that any shock in global markets would put Nigeria’s national security at risk.

In his remarks, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Tahir Monguno (ANPP-Borno) said that the sector remained the largest contributor to the Nigerian economy.

He said that the agriculture sector generates about 70 per cent employment for the nation’s active workforce.

“Although agriculture has witnessed so much neglect in recent times, its importance in providing the much needed food, employment cannot be overemphasized.”

Monguno maintained that in spite of the growing dependence on oil, the country remained largely an agrarian economy with agriculture accounting for a significant share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He noted that in spite of the improved budgetary allocation in recent times, the sector was yet to witness any commensurate changes.

Recall that the House had about two weeks ago, requested for a blueprint on agriculture from the executive following a motion on the floor of the House.