Nigeria Imports Food Worth Trillions Of Naira — Minister

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Nigeria imported foods worth trillions of naira between 2007 and 2010, according to Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the new Minister of Agriculture.

Adesina disclosed this on Monday when he assumed duty in Abuja.

He added that over N635 billion was spent to import wheat, N365 billion on rice, N217 billion on sugar and N97 billion on fish importation.

He noted that in spite of the volume of food importation, the natural and agricultural endowment of the country, its productivity had been “very low.”

H pointed out that such a development contributed to the growing food insecurity in the country.

The new minister, however, said that Nigeria was not lacking in the production of cassava, having been adjudged the largest producer of the commodity in the world with 45 million tonnes.

Adesina regretted that in spite of this advantage in the production of the commodity, the nation accounted for zero percent of global value added.

On the other hand, Thailand that accounted for 10 percent of cassava production had 80 percent added value, he observed.

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He described the Nigeria status quo in agriculture as not acceptable and called for urgent attention to be given to the agriculture sector.

“In those years, Nigeria accounted for over 60 percent of the global supply of palm oil and 35 percent of groundnut.

“It also accounted for 23 percent of groundnut oil and 15 percent of cocoa, while farmers from North to South made money from their sweat.

“The quality of lives improved, children went to good school, our nation was food self-sufficient, farmers fed the nation but alas today the glory has been lost,” he recalled.

Adesina promised to promote the transformation agenda of the government, stressing that President Goodluck Jonathan had set agriculture as one of the major forces to drive the agenda.

“We will revolutionalise agriculture and transform the sector as a business that must work for small and commercial farmers, that will unlock wealth and allow Nigeria to meet its food requirement and diversify income of the nation,” he promised.

The minister is an agricultural economist with over 20 years of professional experience in African agriculture.

He worked at the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), IITA and Rockefeller Foundation, before his new appointment.

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