An expert in the maritime industry, Prince Olu Ologbese has flayed a statement credited to a former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Director of Development Finance, Mr. Garba Ibrahim on the Federal Government agricultural policies.
Ibrahim was quoted saying among other things that Nigeria has not been consistent in her agricultural policies over the years.
Ologbese who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ogbese International Limited however maintained that there was consistency in Nigeria’s agricultural policy, especially as it relates to rice importation and some essential products. He spoke to THISDAY at the weekend against the backdrop of the increase negative impact of the poor economy on the citizenry since President Mohammadu Buhari took over the reins of administration over a year ago.
According to Ologbese who is also the life patron of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ondo/ Ekiti Chapter, the adoption of Agricultural Production Policy (2016 -2019) has come to stay and the government is focused on its implementation, which has been tagged “Diversification of the Economy”.
Continuing, he said: “One should not blame or fight the former CBN Director for his concern and interest of the masses as regards food availability in the country. When you hear that people are crying that things are hard presently, it is because there is no food on their table, whereas, the main reason of our going into agriculture in full force is for us to be able to feed ourselves and our neighbours. This is the reason the large expanse of land in Kebbi State has been secured for rice cultivation. Lagos State has also emulated such development strides by going into large scale farming”.
“The fact remains that the CBN and the government could not open their eyes seeing people die of hunger hence its short time remedy. Like it was done by our fathers in those days when they would buy other food items to feed those working in the farm because it is not the very day we get to the farm the harvest will start. It takes months, and in some cases, years”.
According to him, it is wrong to create the impression that the money we use in importing rice and other food is a waste. As we trade with other countries, they also trade with us as well. I was shocked when I read that some groups in Kaduna State protested against the propose ban on our beans in Europe. They opined that they will be losing more than 100 billion yearly. Just imagine that!
He stated that we should not forget in a hurry the huge amount of revenue that comes with importations.