This was stated by Akinwumi Adesina, minister of agriculture, in his address at the opening ceremony of the ongoing first Aba International Trade Fair, holding at the Aba Recreation Club, saying “no nation can achieve national security and economic development without being food secure, as peace and security can only be assured when the stomach is secured.”
Represented by Oziri Ebere, a director in the ministry, the minister stated, “Nigeria, a nation with about 165 million people with abundant human and natural resources, several hundreds of thousands of arable land cannot feed her population, saying the nation depended mostly on food imports to sustain her population with only four food imports gulping over N1 trillion annually, with the US hand-red and white winter wheat alone accounting for N635 billion.
Rice, according to him, accounts for N356 billion, while sugar and fish N217 billion and N97 billion, respectively.
He reiterated that Nigeria’s former glory in global trade of groundnut (42%), palm oil (27%), cocoa (18%), cotton (1.4%) was lost because while the country’s competitors maintained their dominance due to strong marketing organisation that linked the farmers to markets and provided support in the form of improved planting materials, fertilizer, credits and rural infrastructure, the country stagnated.
“This meant that we have been unable to benefit from the rapidly rising global prices,” he stated.
To averse this trend, he stated that the ministry had decided in its vision to move Nigeria to become an agriculturally industrialised economy by reducing the level of import of wheat from the current level of N635 billion per year, by substituting 40 percent of wheat flour used in bread and other confectionery with high quality cassava flour.
He urged the organised private sector to support the programme, noting that with total commitment Nigeria would once again find its place and position in the global market.