The Federal Government has commended the chairman of the Nigeria AgricBusiness Group (NABG) Sani Dangote for his contribution towards the development of the agricultural sector in the country.
Mr. Dangote is the Vice President of the Dangote Group, Africa’s foremost conglomerate.
Speaking at the AGRIKEXPO/NABG Conference Monday in Abuja, Agriculture Minister Audu Ogbe said Mr. Dangote’s NABG and Dangote Group are making farming attractive and wooing investors at the same time; while the Dangote Group has invested enormously and created jobs across the value chain.
He regretted that despite the fact that the agricultural sector is the biggest employer of labour and largest contributor to the GDP, the country was yet to maximize its potentials as less than 40% of the arable lands are being cultivated.
The Minister said the theme of the three-day conference: ‘From Food Oil to Crude Oil’, was apt in the light of the need to diversify the economy.
The Federal Government, he said, will soon recapitalize the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and strengthen it so that it would be able to extend credit facilities to Small and Medium Scale farmers at around 7% interest rate.
The Minister said in about 30 years time the Nigerian population would be in the region of 500million people, while the world’s population would hit 10billion, adding that there was need to prepare ahead.
He said that the government was planning a Farmers Day where farmers will be appreciated and rewarded, just as he announced that the government was collaborating with relevant international agencies to bring back Extension Services.