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FG to diversify economy, moves to cut $11bn yearly bill on food importation

By on January 25, 2013

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said in its effort to diversify the economy from over reliance on oil, the FG has beaten its set target of raising food production in the country as it has lifted output by eight million tonnes since last year.

The Minister said President Goodluck Jonathan had set for himself, the target of raising food production by 20 million tonnes within the span of four years after his election in 2011.

According to Reuters’ report on Thursday, data report gathered from the United Nations reveals that there will be an increase of about 15 per cent come 2015.

A year after the promise to hit the five million-tonne target, Nigeria, under President Goodluck Jonathan produced an additional 8.1 million tonnes.

“Nigeria has no business importing food. We should be a global power house on food,” he said at a round-table discussion on agriculture in Geneva, Switzerland ahead of meetings with investors at the Davos conference.

Nigeria was the major exporter of palm oil and cocoa in the 1960s but this failed since the country shifted its economy towards oil production.
He disclosed that, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Nigeria is the second largest importer of rice in the world.

“We have launched an aggressive rice production programme to make us self-sufficient in rice and we put in place incentives for the private sector to produce rice locally and it’s working,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the meeting.

He maintained that the country erected 14 new rice-milling factories in 2012 with a production capacity of 250,000 tonnes.

Presently Nigeria spend about $11bn on food imports yearly as Poor infrastructure, corruption and mismanagement has remained a major reason why farming has remained at the subsistence level in the country, said Adesina.