AGRICULTURE is the way; it is clear that oil and gas can no longer sustain us
Chief Audu Ogbeh
Speaking during a session on "Spotlight on Agriculture Key Driver of Growth and Economic Diversification in Nigeria" today in Lagos at the Financial Times Nigeria Summit 2018, Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh talked about opportunities to develop sustainable agriculture; measures to reduce risk and enhance the agricultural supply chain; unlocking investments in farming and the role of the private sector.
"It has become clear that oil and gas can no longer sustain us; not with our rapidly increasing population. We can not continue to import what we eat and if we don't reverse the trend, the rural areas will be abandoned. When our population hits 450million by 2050 (5% of the world's population), how do you import food to feed 450 million people? Our rural development programmes target rural urban migration reversal." the Minister said.
Chief Ogbeh added: "We are encouraging youths to embrace agriculture by easing access to funding. The good news is that the Bank of Agriculture has secured some funds and restructured to offer credits at a low single digit interest rate. Our agricultural equipment hiring services are conceived to make things easier for the smallholder farmer, who cannot afford to purchase tractors and other major equipment."
To improve productivity in the Agric
sector, the Minister said the government is investing in irrigation by creating earth dams and growing improved seeds. In addition to all of these, he said "value addition is the next big thing".
The interviewer David Pilling said the interview session with Chief Audu Ogbeh was "a really fascinating interview" and described the Minister as "the most knowledgeable and engaged agriculture minister I have ever met".