Last weekend, the federal government announced that it was losing $9 billion (N3.2tn) annually because of its low investment in agriculture before the Buhari administration came.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who made this claim at the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) during a reception and lunch in honor of the founder of the University, Chief Afe Babalola, explained that Nigeria lost $9bn in revenue each year in the agricultural sector before President Buhari’s administration.
Senator Heineken Lokpobiri said Nigeria was also losing more than 240 metric tonnes of fish production in the global market, which could have boosted foreign exchange earnings and boosted the economy.
“In Nigeria, we are not producing enough fish to feed our population, which is why we are relying heavily on importation. The deficit between demand and supply was 2.5 million metric tonnes annually which is about 320 containers. You can imagine the quantum of revenue we lost to low production in this sector alone,” he said.
According to him, “Knowing that most of our products were being taken to other West African nations to be processed and rebranded, we introduced certification policy for all the products in order to have right and proper certificates for our products and in order not to affect the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) negatively.
When I visited Belgium, the Minister of Agriculture there told me the country’s annual revenue earning in the agriculture sector was 35 billion Euros. This is a country with less than five million population.
“He further told me that the difference between agriculture in Africa and the West is technology and innovation.
That was why the Federal Government in partnership with the World Bank, earmarked $250 million to train young graduates in agribusiness.
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