President Muhammadu Buhari has announced that in a bid for Nigeria to achieve food security and reduce food inflation by 2021, Nigerians must eat what we produce, as he has directed CBN not to offer FX to food importers.
The President added that Nigeria has to focus on agriculture, which is the way out of over-reliance on food importation.
This was disclosed in a statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, after Buhari’s meeting at the Presidential Economic Advisory Council held on Tuesday at the State House, Abuja.
What the President is saying
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The President said he had ordered the Central Bank not to “give money to import food.”
- “Already, about seven states are producing all the rice we need. We must eat what we produce. Going back to the land is the way out. We depend on petrol at the expense of agriculture. Now the oil industry is in turmoil. We are being squeezed to produce at 1.5 million barrels a day as against a capacity to produce 2.3 million. At the same time, the technical cost of our production per barrel is high, compared to the Middle East production.”
Buhari said the FG would encourage more Nigerians to return to farming.
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- “We will continue to encourage our people to go back to the land. Our elite is indoctrinated in the idea that we are rich in oil, leaving the land for the city for oil riches. We are back to the land now. We must not lose the opportunity to make life easier for our people. Imagine what would have happened if we didn’t encourage agriculture and closed the borders. We would have been in trouble.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in September that Buhari warned the Central Bank of Nigeria against implementing any plans geared towards providing forex for the importation of “food items and fertilizers” into the country.
- The President also ordered the immediate reopening of four of Nigeria’s land borders, after they were all shut for over a year.
- The Federal Government announced it would soon commence all year round farming in Osun State to combat food insecurity during the dry seasons.
Affiong Williams, the Founder of food processing company, ReelFruits, told Nairametrics in September, that she did not think sending more Nigerians to the farms would increase productivity because,
- “There is very little material productivity to achieve by increasing physical labour on the farms. Productivity increases in Agriculture, which moves the needle on production output, are more impacted by things like fertilizers, mechanization, and increased technical expertise. Manual labour is no match for any of those things. To improve the output of any crop, one needs to do a lot of testing and control for so many factors to be able to arrive at the right conditions which increase productivity. Smallholder farmers do not have the resources to do this type of ‘A/B testing’ as it were and so it is very difficult to get true information and disseminate the right techniques that all of these farmers can apply.”