Sokoto State Patners Bill Gates on Agriculture

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has explained that the sudden crash of oil price in the global market is a warning to the country on the need to diversify the economy.
Chief Ogbeh stated this while inaugurating the Technical Working Group of Agricultural Roadmap in Abuja.
He said the fall of oil price means that Nigeria cannot continue to depend on oil, but needs to diversify the economy through improvement on agricultural productivity.
According to him, “the sudden crash in oil price within the last one year is a signal to us as a country that we cannot afford to continue to depend on oil alone for our national revenue.
“We have to diversify and that diversification holds a lot of promises through agriculture.”
Chief Ogbeh, however said that the roadmap was intended to be a strategy document to illuminate the path towards a successful journey to restoring agriculture’s pride of place in the nation.
“We need to fashion out how to liberate Nigeria from the stranglehold of food importation. We need to deliberate on how our states would get down to working on food production for the teeming population that might soon hit 200 million.
“With our foreign reserve at less than $30 billion, the government realistically cannot afford to encourage importation of food, particularly those we have the comparative advantage to produce in-country.
“We won’t will sit idly and watch our agricultural resources waste away. Our reforms will address the labour composition in agriculture,” he added.
The Minister said that the ministry would help states to produce food by collaborating other ministries, departments and agencies.
He further stated that the ministry is currently working with the commercial banks to lower their interest rate on agricultural lending to single digits.

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