The Minister is Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono has said that some of the Federal Government’s policies, especially the closure of the nation’s borders as to ensure that Nigerians key into the government’s policy to stem importation and guarantee food security.
Nanono spoke at the opening of the 49th Annual Conference, meeting and exhibition of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, with the theme“Enhancement of Agricultural Value Chain for Economic Development: The Role of Chemical Engineering” in Kaduna.
According to the Minister, the policy to stem importation will consequently enhance the nations’ foreign earning and create jobs for its teeming population.
He said the future of Nigeria lies on agriculture, adding that that was the only way for the country to continue to transform and diversify its economy.
He said the report has shown that rice production peaked at 3.7 million tons in 2017, adding that with appropriate agricultural practice, Nigeria is expected to hit 7.2 million tons in the next 5 years.
“In my inaugural speech as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, I made it clear that Agriculture sector is the largest employer of labour in Nigeria if the country gets Agricultural policy right, the country may not only feed its citizen but the entire West Africa Countries.
“Nigeria government is pursuing aggressive economic diversification. The recent Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) is aimed at increasing national productivity and achieving sustainable diversification of production, to significantly grow the economy.
“Agriculture Promotion Policy (2016-2020) document otherwise known as The Green Alternative developed by my Ministry is dedicated to prioritizing private sector-led development of the value chains of crop, livestock and fisheries sub-sectors.
“The significance of this Agricultural value chain development cannot be overemphasized. As I call on Nigerians to key into Federal Government policy to stem importation, which will consequently enhance our foreign earning and create jobs for our teeming population more so as the country can no longer continue to be a consumer Nation.
“Ministries, Agencies, Government and Private sector must continue to do more. I, therefore, throw the challenge to Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers to provide necessary technologies and innovations to propel this country’s Agricultural sector to another height of technological development” the Minister said.
Earlier in a welcome address, the National President of the society, Engr. Onoche Anyaoku said the theme of the conference was carefully selected considering the country’s current economic reality, the need to create wealth, jobs and investment opportunities and also feed her teeming populace which are worthy desires of Government that are strongly supported by the Society.
He noted that the principal constraint to the growth of the agricultural sector was the fact that the structure and method of production remained virtually the same for more than four decades after independence.
“Other problems include, lack of adequate and safe storage facilities, inadequate technical know-how, inadequate infrastructural facilities among others.” He said.
He, however, expressed confidence that it is possible for agriculture to become the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, assuring that, Chemical Engineering is uniquely positioned to play vital roles in ensuring the realization of the dream, details of which would be unveiled during the course of the conference.