The National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN)Â has decried the decline in Nigeriaâ€™s agricultural sector, saying the country spends $2.8 billion annually on importation of foods. Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the foundation, made this known on Friday in Abuja at a news conference on preparations for the 2009 National Agricultural Show and this yearâ€™â€™s World Food Day.The 3rd National Agricultural Show with the theme,
â€œGlobal Food Crisis: Incentive to Agricultural Growth in Nigeria,â€™â€™â€™â€™ will hold between Oct. 12 and Oct. 15 at Km 28, Abuja-Keffi road, Tudun Wada, Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. It is expected to be followed immediately by activities to mark the 2009 World Food Day on Oct. 16, organised by NAFN, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources.Adamu, who is also the Chairman of AFAN, attributed the decline of the agricultural sector to official neglect, occasioned by the discovery of crude oil and a lack of foresight on the part of past leaders and
governments. â€œSince the discovery of oil in the 1950s and its emergence as the countryâ€™â€™s main foreign exchange earner in the 1970s, agriculture has been relegatedto the background,â€™â€™ he added.
Adamu said although the sector had been grossly neglected, it still provides employment to about 70 per cent of the countryâ€™â€™s active workforce, contributes 40 per cent to the GDP and accounts for 7 per cent of Nigeriaâ€™â€™s foreign exchange earnings. He promised that the NAFN and AFAN would support the ongoing efforts by the current administration to transform the agricultural sector. The chairman said the agricultural show was aimed at showcasing Nigeriaâ€™â€™s
abundant agricultural produce, resources and vast potential with a view to consolidating the past achievements recorded in the sector.Â He explained that the show would also expose farmers to the latest technologies and practice, as well as attract local and foreign investments to the agricultural sector.