The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has advised Nigerians to set up plantations to boost food production in the country.
Addressing a town hall meeting in Enugu, Ogbe expressed regret that Nigerians had abandoned agriculture for which they were known for oil and gas, adding that the recent fall in oil price had caused a lot of problem to the country.
He said that before now, the South East was the highest producer of palm oil but that it was no longer so due to over-dependence of oil.
The minister said that the Federal Government spent N22 billion annually to import food and food items, adding that it is not the duty of the government to farm but to encourage farming.
Ogbe explained that the South East and North West had done well in agriculture since the renewed attention on the sector, adding that the ministry planned to attain self-sufficiency in the production of beans, rice, millet, tomatoes and others by 2018.
The minister explained that the Federal Government would provide ranches across the country where cattle and their herdsmen would permanently stay.
Ogbe said that the ministry would not encourage people to go back to agriculture and also allow cattle to destroy their effort overnight.
He said that the president had set up a committee to probe allegations that the herdsmen moved about with AK-47 rifles, adding that the report would be out soon.
The minister said that a booklet on fertilizer mapping had been produced to aid farmers in various parts of the country to get better yields.
He assured the people that in two years, the country would be back to what it used to be in terms of production of grains and beans.