FG seeks partnership with Osun State on food production

The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to partner Osun State government in the on-going process of massive food production to take the nation out of the current economic recession.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, stated this yesterday in Osogbo when he paid a courtesy call on the state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, in his office.

Ogbeh, who also said that Nigeria would by December this year stop the importation of rice as the country, stated that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had been restructured to meet the nation’s needs on food production to put a stop to dependence on food importation.

He said the purpose of the visit was to strengthen existing relationship between Osun State government and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the area of increased food production.

He said: “This year, we will stop importation of rice into the country. It is a pity that as a nation we spend about $5 million on the importation of rice on a daily basis.

“We have no choice in this country now but to go back to farm and begin to cultivate it so as to be able to free ourselves and the land from poverty because oil and gas can no longer do it.

“Our dreams of big foreign exchange earnings must stop and it’s a pity that our revenue is being spent to service debts. In Osun, there are lots of potentialities through various crops. Just two crops alone are enough for Osun to make over $3 billion in a month.

“We have to find extraordinary means to make agriculture work in this country because by 2050, Nigeria’s population would have risen to about 450 million and we have to quickly begin to look for means of being capable to feed ourselves by then.”

The minister said his ministry had met with relevant stakeholders to revamp the agriculture sector, a move he said, would go a long way in rescuing the nation out of poverty and unemployment.

According to him, it is high time Nigerians, irrespective of socio-economic status, developed interests in whatever that can be used as alternative to crude oil whose era is almost disappearing.

“It has been foreseen that in 30 years, there wouldn’t be fuel vehicles just as the crude oil would neither be sellable nor valuable.

“It is regrettable that we are all asleep rather than finding alternative to crude oil. We have forgotten ‎that our nation has the potential to get out of poverty and recession and the way out is for us to return to farm.

“If care is not taken, it will be very difficult to finance the debt, which the nation owed all in the name of food importation. We have to put a stop to this. We have to rededicate ourselves and look inward to chart a new course for our nation.

“The only feasible alternative we have to cushion the adverse effect of the present economy is for all to go back to farm. If Lagos consumes 6,000 cattle a day, then there is no doubt that the whole nation consumes over 30,000 cows on daily basis, hence, the need for us to buckle up in cattle production,” he stressed.

Aregbesola said the current economy had left Nigerians with no option than to embrace massive agriculture.

He said agriculture remains a viable means that has capacity to deliver the nation from her economic bondage.

His words: “An alternative to oil is a quest of all nations. A time is coming when oil will no longer serve the mono-economic that it serves now, thus, Nigeria must come to that grim reality that in 25 years to come, there will not be revenue from oil.”

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