The Nigerian government says there is a conspiracy against the country’s agriculture revolution by some foreign countries and interest.
Speaking in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital on Monday, the Information and Culture Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammed said it was imperative to alert Nigerians on the conspiracy.
Mr. Mohammed said the revolution which would ultimately lead to self sufficiency in the national staples, ”should not expect accolades and support from outside, especially from countries that have hitherto been the main exporters to Nigeria.”
”In international politics and diplomacy every nation pursues its national interest, and it is definitely not in their interest for Nigeria to produce what it consumes, because it means Nigeria will no longer import from such countries,” he stated.
Giant stride in Agriculture
The Minister however said the Buhari-led Administration has made a giant stride in the area of Agriculture and would ensure sustainability.
Mr. Mohammed cited a recent report which said that Nigeria imported 400,000 Metric Tonnes (of rice) more this year, even though the country has reduced rice importation by 90%, as the handiwork of detractors who are bent on dampening the resolve of the government to exit food importation.
”The report, quoting the 2018 United States Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade Report, also posited that Nigeria’s local rice production is dropping. When the figures were challenged, they could not provide any empirical ground for the report,” Mr Mohammed said.
He said contrary to the report, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, revealed that it had not allocated any foreign exchange for the importation of rice this year because rice importation has reduced to the barest minimum.
“So those who claimed that Nigeria imported 400,000 MT of rice more this year have not been truthful,” the Minister said.
Recalling that the conspiracy to thwart Nigeria’s push toward self sufficiency in rice did not start today, he said in 2015, the government was put under undue pressure to import rice ostensibly to make up for a massive shortage, when in the real sense there was a glut of paddy rice produced locally.
Reduction of interest rate
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh said the reduction of interest rate on lending to farmers to 9% has ignited a revolution in agriculture in the country.
Mr. Ogbeh said with the reform of the Bank of Agriculture, which would be completed by the end of this year, the government is targeting 5% lending rate to farmers.
The Minister said the revolution in agriculture by the present administration has turned Nigeria into an exporter of agriculture products.
“In July this year, the Tin Can Island published a report that Agricultural export has risen by 150%. Containers leaving Nigeria are no longer going empty,” he said.
The Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar had led the four Ministers who came for the Special Town Hall Meeting on the tour of an agricultural exhibition where farm products including processed and packaged local rice, packaged soya beans, sesame seeds, curry powder, fruit juice as well as fish, goats, rams and farming implements were on display.
Meanwhile in his intervention, the Emir of Kazaure, Hussain Adamu tasked government on the issue of research and development especially as it relates to agriculture.
Adamu said without proportionate investment in research, the agricultural revolution would not be sustainable.
Another Minister at the Town Hall Meeting was that of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu who said that his ministry has revamped the River Basin development Authority to be highly professional to key into the agriculture revolution.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar was also at the event.Participants at a Special Town Hall Meeting on Agriculture in Dutse, Jigawa State, on Monday.