Nigeria’s new Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Tuesday, commended the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan for its achievements in agriculture but said corruption was still rampant.
Ogbe spoke in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, as President Muhammadu Buhari officially launched the N40 billion Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and the commencement of the dry season farming organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for rice farmers across the country.
Ogbeh, who commended his predecessor, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, for the innovations introduced into the nation’s agricultural system, however, said despite his (Adesina) good intentions, corruption still crept into the agriculture sector under him.
He said: “People supplied sharp sands as fertilizer while fake seeds were sold to farmers. There were companies with no traceable addresses that many struggling farmers lost their monies as a result.
“No room for quacks anymore. Under this administration, that will never happen again. Security agencies will now be used to check fraudsters. We will no longer allow the elite play prank on our farmers.”
On his part, Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, said the bank was concerned about the high amount of foreign exchange spent on importation of food items that could be locally produced.
Meanwhile, Buhari, in his remarks, also described as “unsustainable” the situation where Nigeria spent huge sums of money on importing foods that could be locally produced in Nigeria.
According to the President, the only way out of poverty was the diversification of the economy through agriculture and solid minerals.