From Betty Amihere, Abuja
As stakeholders in the public and private sector converge to seek ways that will see Nigeria attain self sufficiency in food production and earn foreign exchange through export of agricultural products, Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed of federal government readiness to partner with development bodies to establish, promote and support special industrial processing zones across the country
This is just as he also revealed of plans to facilitate the review of the land act tenure ,and implement the agro rangers project that will secure lives and investment of farmers across the country.
The Vice President stated this at the 2019 Agriculture Summit Africa,a two day summit organised by Sterling Bank in collaboration with the World Bank and other stakeholders with the theme ‘Agriculture: Your piece of the Trillion -Dollar Economy’ in Abuja yesterday
According to him, ” it is heart warming that agriculture is fast becoming the most across trade and particularly in the face perennial dwindling prices and devaluation and attendant desire of to diversify the economy to boast revenue base of the nation while endangering the food and agriculture production for local and international market for foreign exchange earnings.
“The need to get everybody in agriculture has been one of the cardinal points of the Economy Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the FG with emphasis on developing and export led economy.
“Government will promote and support special industrial processing zones with development partners such as African Development Bank (AFDB) ,implement agro rangers projects to ensure life and properties of farmers, facilitate the review of land act tenure system among others.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman said the bank had spent 55billion Naira on three major crops in the last seven years.
” As an institution, we have done everything within our power to support the agric sector, in committing resources to agric but its not just the financial resources, is not about the 55billion that we have spent in the last 7 years on the three major crops, it is the fact that the human resources that we brought into Agriculture, the ideals we brought in, the partners that we brought together has finally open up a more urgent conversation.” He stated
While harping on the goal of the summit, he explained that , ” it is not a conversation about the foreign reserve or whether or not, the exchange rate will move or not, it is a critical conversation about employment, it is about food and about the 227 million Africans that are starving today.
“Nigeria is finally ready to have an honest conversation about Agriculture, no civilisation that did not start by dealing with food security, what we call civilisation is what happens to you after you have been able to provide basic for your people