Let’s replace oil with Agriculture, says Sabo Nanono
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono has said that there is the need for Nigerians to give agriculture its prime position as a worthy replacement for the dwindling crude oil.
Nanono made this call in Owerri at a one-day workshop organised by the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN) themed: “Post-Harvest Management of Maize Stakeholders Conference- under the CBN Maize Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP)”, which had many farmers, especially maize growers in attendance.
Mr Chris Iwuchukwu, the State Director in the ministry, who represented the Minister, said that crude oil was failing the country and a reason why agriculture should be given more priority in the nation’s affairs.
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He said the ministry was working to encourage farmers that maize would become self-sustaining and as export commodity.
“Crude oil is failing the country, so we need to give agriculture its prime place in the country. Since 2011 till date, the Federal Government has been doing its necessary best to boost agriculture.
“There is need to make agriculture have a face by making the rural community comfortable for the youth to farm. There is need for the South East and South-South to begin to export maize. There is need for the farmers to manage the crop well in order not to suffer losses,” he added.
The National President of the association, Dr Edwin Uche, urged the people to embrace agriculture.
“We need to embrace agriculture as a people. We need to strengthen its value chain in our communities, environment and society. We need to accept the fact that technology in agriculture has come to stay and that agriculture is the sector that can boost our economy and make life more meaningful to the people,”.
Uche explained that the workshop addressed issues that bordered on agriculture not only in Nigeria, but across nations.
“It opened our eyes to the realities in maize cultivation and broadened our hearts to it as a commodity we must all grow and support. The farmers must not look at the challenges and gaps, but on the opportunities that exist in the cultivation of maize,” he added.
Deputy Manager, Development Finance Office of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Owerri, Mr Ikongbe Iya, who represented the Maize Champion Development Finance Department, CBN, said Nigeria’s population was increasing by the day with a lot of concern on natural resources and the environment. That there was need for sustainable agriculture, hence the workshop, to build maize growers’ capacity to reduce losses of agricultural product.
“There is need to develop low-cost technology to grow agricultural products. The machines for today’s demonstration was locally produced”.
Iya said that the Anchor Borrowers Scheme was introduced to curtail the importation of goods from outside the country, agricultural raw materials available to farmers and companies.