By Chinenye Festus:-
At a meeting of the National Food Security Council at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari who is very passionate about growing the country’s agricultural sector directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to give foreign exchange for food and fertilizer imports.
Buhari maintained that his administration is committed to making Nigeria a self-sufficient nation as regards the production of food.
”From only three operating in the country, we have 33 fertilizer blending plants now working,” he explained, stressing that “We will not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import fertilizer. We will empower local producers.”
Buhari also ordered blenders of fertilizer to take their products straight to State Governments so as to beat those group of transporters who sabotages efforts to make products available to users at a considerable cost.
The meeting, chaired by the President had other key members of the Council in attendance, was briefed on the food security situation prevailing in the country.
Dr. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning disclosed that the government will facilitate the cultivation of 20,000 to 100,000 hectares of new farmland in every state and back the take-off of agro-processing to create millions of job opportunities.
The minister added that Nigeria will equally support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to help them keep their employees and boost local manufacturing, she said these and more are part of government’s efforts aimed at tackling the challenges from COVID-19 on the nation.
President Buhari further advised businesses bent on importation to source their foreign exchange on their own. Instead of bringing in “compromised” food items in the country, he, however, has a message for food importers: – ”use your money to compete with our farmers.”
Buhari is very optimistic that agriculture is one of the ways to tackle food insecurity and unemployment in Nigeria.
”We have a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work and agriculture is the answer,” he added. “We have a lot to do to support our farmers.”
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By Chinenye Festus:-