Nigeria will be an agricultural business country soon, says Obasanjo

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said Nigeria would soon become an agricultural business country with the ongoing efforts by both the government and the private sector to revive farming.

Obasanjo, who stated this while speaking with journalists yesterday in Abuja after a closed-door meeting on Nigeria Zero Hunger 2030 Strategic Review, organised by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said there were ongoing efforts to ensure the country becomes self-sufficient in food production and a business destination by the year 2030.

He said at the inaugural meeting of the Nigeria Zero Hunger campaign by 2030 in IITA, nine sub-committees were set up to look into how the country had fared so far in the sector and the way forward in terms of research and innovation, processing and marketing, among other things.

The former president noted that ministers of Agriculture and Health headed some of the sub-committees and governors of Sokoto and Ebonyi states were also put in charge of some of the committees.

According to him, efforts were being made to fine-tune the reports of the committees so that they can come up with a final recommendation that would be submitted to the government ahead of plans to achieve zero hunger by 2030.

The IITA Director-General, Nteray Sagina, said the meeting observed that most of the policies formulated are not being implemented.

He, therefore, stressed the need for a committee that would assist in the evaluation of the policies to ensure implementation.

He said the aim of the meeting was to make the right policies towards ensuring increase in local production as against importation.

He stressed that the sub-committee was to serve as advisory one towards implementation of the policies to strengthen local production.

Sagina said the meeting was geared towards the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals of ensuring that no Nigerian citizen goes to bed without food.

Also, Deputy Director-General, IITA, Keton Dashiel, affirmed that with the enthusiasm coming from the government and private sector, Nigeria would definitely end hunger by 2030.

He said that government must be able to provide the enabling environment for the private sector to drive the supply and distribution of input, agricultural production, marketing, processing and exportation of the produce. He added that there is need for the civil society and university to be more involved in sensitising the youths to embrace agriculture.