Ogbeh Presents Agric Blueprint To FEC Soon | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ogbeh Presents Agric Blueprint To FEC Soon

Posted: Apr 1, 2016 at 2:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chibuzor Emejor, Abuja

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, would soon present agricultural blueprint to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration and approval.

Dr. Kayode Oyeleye, Special Adviser to the Minister on Media, who revealed this in a chat with Independent on Thursday in Abuja, said the agricultural blueprint is ready and awaiting the endorsement of the FEC, before it would be unveiled to the public shortly.

Independent reliably gathered that the minister few weeks ago raised a committee to develop an agriculture roadmap or blueprint that would guide the policies, actions and interventions of the ministry under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Already, the Ministry had organised the National Council on Agricultural Development in February 2016 which brought together critical stakeholders drawn from both private and public sectors of the economy.

In the week long council meeting in Kano, the ministry collated many inputs and useful contributions from these participants.

Shortly after, while inaugurating the technical working group of agricultural roadmap in Abuja, Ogbeh explained that the proposed roadmap was intended to be a strategy document to illuminate the path towards a successful journey on the way to restoring agriculture to its pride of place in the country.

He said now is the time to shift from petro-dollars to agro-dollars and restore Nigeria to the path that was abandoned in the past five decades which would require a careful thinking, strategic planning and strict adherence to implementation.

He said: “Every highway marked with mileposts and signposts helps the travelers know where they are going and how they are progressing on their journey.

“The various road signs help in averting accidents and helps observant traveler to keep to a clear course, avoiding any diversion.

“Our exercise on roadmap is intended to achieve similar purpose on the agricultural economy of Nigeria,” he said.

Therefore, the minister tasked the committee to fashion out how to liberate Nigeria from the stranglehold of food importation.

“We need to deliberate on how our states would get down to the work on food production for the teeming population that might soon hit 200 million.

“With our foreign reserve at less than US$30 billion, the government, realistically, cannot afford to encourage more importation of foods, particularly those we have the comparative advantage to produce in the country. We need to ease the pressure on our foreign exchange.

“But we need to appreciate the silver lining around the dark cloud of a dampened economy, and find ways of converting the situation to national advantage.

“This administration does not mince words on boosting agricultural sector. We will not sit idly and watch our agricultural resources waste away,” he added.

Ogbeh said that in collaboration with states and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, the ministry would expand the irrigation-based agriculture and bring farming into an all-year-round economic activity, with higher overall annual productivity.

He also assured that the ministry would work with the commercial banks to lower their interest rate on agricultural lending to single digit.

“We want to bring life and economic vitality to the rural areas. Post-harvest wastage of food has become a commonplace in Nigeria.

“This problem will receive ample attention from our research scientists. We will address standards and quality issues while emphasising food safety,” he stated.