The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, has revealed that Nigeria spends a whopping sum of $11million per day on rice and wheat importation.
This revelation was made at a lecture he delivered at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).
Going further, he lamented the costs on fish importation for the last 25 years, which amounts to a daily expenditure of $800million and said this has further led to increase in unemployment and poverty into the country.
The minister said Nigeria spends $20billion on the importation of foodstuff on a yearly basis.
He stressed the fact that despite Nigeria’s natural capacity for food production, the country continues to import; citing the over 50,000 hectares of arable land Nigeria.
Delving into the solution-based aspect of his lecture, Ogbeh said; “promotion of a culture of eating what we grow and what we eat is an important aspect of tackling food security”.
Nature in its wisdom had ensured that the best foods for one’s daily needs were clearly within everyone’s reach and in their respective communities along all agricultural belts in Nigeria.
He added: “The agricultural sector cannot thrive without knowledge. Therefore, specialized Universities of Agriculture were specifically established as the knowledge centre of this sector.”
Also supporting the claim of the Minister of Agriculture was the Executive Secretary of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof. Baba Abubakar who at a sensitization programme said four food items-rice, fish, wheat and sugar gulps a whooping sum of 1 Trillion naira yearly.
According to him, Nigeria is the largest importer of US hard red and white wheat worth N635 billion annually; world’s number 2 importer of rice at N356 billion; N217 billion on sugar and N97 billion on fish.