The Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh has lamented over the rate at which agricultural products are imported into the country saying that the Nigeria has a huge expanse of arable land.
Speaking at a convocation lecture organised by the University of Agriculture Abeokuta (UNAAB) as part of its convocation ceremonies, Ogbeh said Nigeria largely depend on food imports which account for about $22 billion per annum.
“We have over 50 million hectares of land, we can’t grow our own rice, we can’t produce our sugar, we can’t produce our milk, we import apples, honey, fish and frozen chicken, the list is endless.”
Ogbeh said this huge range of import will only contribute to poverty and unemployment rate in Nigeria.
“What we are doing is importing products, exporting dollars. Alongside the food that we are importing, we are importing unemployment and poverty into our country.”
Ogbeh said for this situation not to get worse, universities of agriculture across the country must rise up to the challenges of providing the necessary impute in the areas of research and development and to address the shortcomings in food production
He also said the federal government is committed to providing the necessary environment to attract younger farmers to the system through modern ways of farming and agricultural businesses.