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Do not Panic over Reports of looming Famine, Nigeria wont be affected – Agric Minister

by on November 22, 2016
 

Nigerians have been urged not to panic over reports of loom­ing famine in the country due to the huge demand for grains by neighbouring countries.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who gave the admonition in Abuja, declared that instead of famine, Nigeria is on the path of self-sufficien­cy in food production.

Ogbeh said that the news of Nigerian grains being in huge demand “is a good thing” that is drawing new farmers into agri­culture, especially as the yields are on the increase due to im­proved seedlings.

He however warned Nige­rians to be wary of imported food products, stressing that the Federal Government is on the verge of banning the import foods that are posing health risk to the citizens. Under the ex­pected ban which is being final­ised by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), items to be affected include rice, plas­tic cabbages, honey and toma­to paste.
The minister told some se­lect journalists at the weekend in Abuja that “we are on the path of self-sufficiency in food production. There is no poli­cy summersault to ensure that foreign investors and Nigerians have stability in terms of policy issues. We are initiating major youth engagement in agricul­ture in order to find a replace­ment for ageing farmers. Yields from millet, rice, sorghum and beans are improving.”

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“Yes, we have pressures from our neighbours as their demands mean putting addi­tional 80 million people into our food chain. But we can’t ban the export of grains because we are part of the ECOWAS trea­ty. But the good thing about the great demand for grains from our neighbours is that our farmers are now making money. “We are now becom­ing rich; our farmers now say. Things are beginning to hap­pen. The rural areas are begin­ning to see wealth. In the next two years, we are moving into mechanised lands. The big news is that we have a project called 10-37 through which we will never rely on rains for the farm­ing season. It now has to be ir­rigation.

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“There is no need to pan­ic about any reports of famine. If there is market for food, it is a good thing. Our food gets to Libya, Mali and Maurita­nia. For the sub-Saharan Afri­ca, Nigeria is the food basket. There will be no famine as we have 33 silos with capacity for 100 tonnes. And it is good news that the market price encour­ages people to enter the farm­ing business. And the farmers’ yields are improving.”

“We have a huge pro­gramme for improvement in cattle as the milk yield is too low. We are about to relaunch cocoa where we were number one and now we are number seven; I feel so embarrassed at this. Ivory Coast took from here and they are now number one. Indonesia took palm oil from here and they are now number one in palm oil production. We want to be number one in cash­ew production. To help mat­ters, a Nigeria makes the cash­ew processing machines. We intend to have 500 hectares of cashew farm in senatorial dis­tricts in the states that grow cashew.”

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