Ex-minister Decries Food Shortage 55 Years After Independence | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Ex-minister Decries Food Shortage 55 Years After Independence

Posted: Sep 21, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chibuzor Emejor, Abuja

Former Minister of Defence, Dr. Shettima Mustafa, has decried the inability of Nigeria to be self-sufficient in food production 55 years after her independence.

Addressing newsmen at the weekend in Abuja, Mustafa, noted that the progress made in the development of the agricultural sector has not been satisfactory.

He lamented that Nigeria still imports most of the food items that would have been produced in the country, given an enabling environment and right policies from government.

“Talking about agriculture generally, I think our progress in the sector is not satisfactory. If we have been making satisfactory progress, after over 50 years of Independence, why are we still importing rice, tomatoes, vegetable oil, eggs?

“Virtually, everything we eat is being imported. If we are growing by 2 or 3 percent per year, why are we still importing all these food items. The grammar we talk on the radio, television, seminars, workshops and conferences do not tally with the reality on ground. To me as an agriculturalist, I don’t call it progress,” he said.

Mustafa, who was also a former Minister of Agriculture, called on the government to come up with a policy that would make Nigeria to feed herself to certain level, adding that there must be sustainability in the implementation of government policies.

He argued that government ought not to be a key player in the procurement and distribution of fertilizer to farmers, adding that private sector should be allowed to drive the process.

Commenting on the implementation of Growth Enhancement Support Scheme of the immediate past administration, he contended that the Scheme was not successful.

“Today as we are talking, the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, introduced by the immediate past administration, the suppliers of fertilizer have been saying that they have not been paid for the supplies they made. I don’t call that a success.