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MAN seeks stoppage of importation, as FG facilitates N450b for agriculture

By on September 25, 2012

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has charged the federal government to formulate policies to stop the importation of goods and services, where the country has comparative advantage.

Chairman of the association and former Minister of Industry, Kola Jamodu, made the recommendation at the 16th triennial symposium of the international society for tropical root crops (ISTRC) at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), where 33 countries are participating.

Jamodu, who chaired the opening session at the Alabata campus of the institution with over 200 scientists in attendance, suggested the reinvigoration of the ‘backward integration’ policy of the government, which, according to him, led to the surplus in the cement production capacity of the country.

“The backward integration policy of the government is yielding some positive results as some manufacturing companies are already utilizing root and tuber crops as raw materials for their products; the results of our efforts in 2011 in the cement sub-sector of the economy has led to a surplus of 4million tones for export from an earlier importing status,” Jamodu said.
His pontification came as the Minister for Agriculture; Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina rued the importation bills of the country on food items, with assurances that government was ready to reverse the trend to create jobs and up the living standard of stakeholders, especially farmers.

The Minister, who spoke through Dr. Mathew Fregene, said government has facilitated the releases of a consortium of fund to the tune of N450 billion from commercial banks to fast-track the agriculture transformation agenda (ATA).

“Under ATA, we are fixing value-added chains for rice, cassava, cocoa, sorghum, cotton, maize, soybean, oil palm, aquaculture and livestock; we are also fixing the broken financial value chain, via the Nigerian incentive-based risk-shared Agricultural lending (NIRSAL) programme that seeks to leverage N450 billion off the balance sheet of commercial banks for lending to the agricultural sector,”, he said.

The Minister regretted that only 42 percent of the 79 million arable farms are cultivated.

He challenged the scientists’ convergence to bridge the gap between the yields of the local farmers and that of research organizations like the IITA and the National Resources Institute (NRI), among other research institutes at the meeting.

The Minister informed that over four million, five-hundred farmers were registered in 2011 with assurances that the reform in the agricultural sector would rank the country among not only self-sufficient nations but earners of foreign exchange from value-added agricultural goods.

In his welcome remark, President of the ISTRC, Professor Andrew Westby, lauded the hosting of global hunger summit by the United Kingdom where Prime Minister David Cameron, highlighted global malnutrition and means of tackling it.

Westby added that one of the programmes discussed at the meeting was how to overcome vitamin A deficiency using orange-fleshed sweet potato as “a high profile example of the contribution of roots crops to overcoming global malnutrition issues.”

Adewunmi however said there seemed no better revolution in the ATA programme of the federal government than the confession of former Judge of the World Court, Prince Bola Ajibola, that he is cultivating 148 acres of cassava to argument Crescent University internally generated revenue (IGR).




Source: Daily Independent