NIGERIA SECURES JOB FOR 45 MILLION NIGERIANS
By OMOKHUALE PUAH
The federal minister of agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said, that the country targets over $5 billion annually from the production of cassava, few years from now.
This was stated at the National Cassava Summit, on Thursday in Abuja, with the theme: “Toward $5 billion per Annum Cassava in the next five years”.
Chief Ogbeh said that Nigeria has neglected agriculture since 30 years, despite the fact that the industry has the potential of employing more youths into agriculture and improving foreign exchange.
He further expressed concern towards the number of farmers in the country and their access to credit facilities, promising that the government would enhance and boost the Bank of Agriculture(BOA) so that farmers could access such facilities at five or six percent interest rate.
According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, “Most commercial banks give loan to farmers at a very high interest rate of about 28 and 30 percent, so how do farmers cope?.
“Rural roads needs rehabilitation as most of them is bad, preventing proper transporting of farm products. Our budget is too small to be considered for a road construction and so the government ought to be undoing in fulfilling their duties” he added.
Chief Ogbeh urged the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and other research institutes, in his words ”ensure vitamins are included in cassava, during the next research work, to balance the contents in cassava and for other benefits”, He said.
Prof. Lateef Sani who was present at the summit, from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, said in his statement that “agriculture in Nigeria has the ability to make jobs both within and outside the country, through its necessity.
“In the year 2021, the cassava industry should represent $5 billion, generate millions of job both within and outside Nigeria, create wealth for millions of Nigerians and spur rural industrial development” he placed a target.
In a keynote address, made by Mr. Alfred Dixon of the International institute of Tropical Agriculture, it was stated that Nigeria is confronted with rapid growth in population and consistent rise in urbanization, with a high demand of food and feeds for livestock.