Osinbajo Advocates Export of Agriculture Produce to Improve Living Standard In Nigeria
The vice president made this known at a two-day Agriculture Summit Africa organsied by Sterling Bank with the theme: “Agriculture your piece of the Trillion Dollar Economy“ in Abuja.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mr Mustapha Baba, said there was need for everyone to get involved in agriculture, saying it would be recognised as a business.
He said that it was heart warming that agriculture was fast becoming the most important trade, particularly in the face of perennial dwindling prices and devaluation.
He however decried that the attendant desire to diversify the economy to boast revenue base of the nation was endangering the food and agriculture production for local and international market for foreign earnings.
“The need to get everybody in agriculture has been one of the cardinal points of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government with emphasis on developing and export led economy.
He said that the agriculture sector was to exceed the one trillion dollars and create access to capital by investors to accessing value chain.
“Our agenda is to guarantee vibrancy of the sector. Agriculture must be seen as a business and haven for investment and integrating food production, storage, food processing and industrial manufacturing to establish the linkage necessary in the agricultural commodity value chain,” he said.
Osinbajo said that the value chain must consider the role of players from food production to consumption and design to empower the small holder producers to ensure that processors have good quality products for consumption.
“I see this gathering as another traction in the quest of the present administration by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to boost agric production, self sufficiency, food security and draw investment in the agric sector of the economy.’’
According to him, the Federal Government of Nigeria is seeing promising picture across the entire value chain, therefore, there is the need to import less and export more.
He said that there was also need to improve investment in the agriculture and create awareness that would further develop the sector.
“Electricity, hectares of land are needed to create employment and reduce poverty to safeguard the economy.
“There is need to have access to capital by investors across the value chain to promote agriculture.
“There is need to have better technology digitalisation method and well irrigated land to create employment, reduce poverty and promote food self-sufficiency across the continent and safeguard the environment,” Osinbajo said.
According to him, the summit will create more opportunities to engage with stakeholders in infrastructure and to improve the sector.
The vice president, while commending the organisers of the programme, said that there must be land tenure system, foreign and local partnership as strategy of agriculture diversification.
Mr Asue Ighodalo, the Chairman of Sterling Bank said that the Agriculture Summit Africa was one of the continent’s leading platforms to create a convergence of private and public investors across the entire agriculture value chain.
He said the bank had identified the agriculture sector as one of its priorities to bring stakeholders to discuss issues to grow the sector.
He said agriculture formed a consequential portion of the economies of all African countries in eradicating poverty and hunger, and to boost intra Africa trade and investment.
Ighodalo said the benefit of the summit was to grow the sector and help increase exports and income levels, create employment, promote food and self-sufficiency across the continent.
The summit is a platform dedicated to creating a convergence of private and public sector players, investors and agriculture practitioners across the entire value chain to proffer solution to agricultural problems.