By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria must halt the importation of food items that could be locally produced.
He stated that continued importation of food would affect the economy and expose the country to industrial risks.
To realize the objective, the president said that his administration would vigorously implement policies that will revive Nigeria’s agricultural sector and reposition it as the mainstay of the national economy.
The president spoke while granting audience to the new Bulgarian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Vesselin Blagoer Delcher and others who were in at the presidential Villa on Thursday to show their Letters of Credence to him.
The President also noted that importation of food contributed to the depletion of the country’s foreign reserves and deprived citizens of job opportunities.
‘‘We must produce what we eat. We don’t have unlimited resources to continue the importation of food items that can be produced locally.
“Fortunately, some Nigerians have shown foresight by building factories that process agricultural products within the country.
‘‘They have created a value chain that boosts employment, protects our foreign reserves and safeguards the economy from external shocks.
“We will do all that we can to encourage others to join in the effort to achieve national self-sufficiency in food production,” President Buhari said.
The President said that his administration would encourage Nigerian farmers to adopt modern, technology-driven methods that guarantee higher production and returns on investment.
A statement by the presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina added that President Buhari also received Mr. Paul Lehmann, the new High Commissioner of Australia, Hajiya Afsatu Olayinka Ebiso-Kabba, the new High Commissioner of Sierra-Leone and Thordur Aegir Oskarsson, the new Ambassador of Iceland.
According to the statement, the president stated hat Nigeria would welcome the further strengthening of relations with their countries, especially in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals and trade.
The President also wished the four envoys successful tenures in Nigeria.