President Muhammadu Buhari has decried the continued reliance on imported food by Nigerians, insisting that there was no reason for that given the abundant resources and knowledge available in the country.
According to him, the agricultural sector, apart from helping the nation attain food security, “remains the major driver in industrial development, and diversification from heavy dependence on non-renewable mineral oil”.
Buhari, who spoke at the 10th convocation ceremony of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), Abia State, said the expectations of his government was for the Universities of Agriculture to drive the rapid development of the knowledge and skills needed to increase the local production of food and raw materials.
Represented by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, the president said, “We can and should be able to feed ourselves on the rich soils and diverse ecologies that God has endowed Nigeria with.
We should be determined to wisely exploit the natural resources and inheritance of our nation to feed our people and possibly export to other nations.
“Government expects that Universities of Agriculture should bravely confront the heavy dependence of our nation on imported food and raw materials with the view to reducing it to the barest minimum at the shortest possible time.
Furthermore, Buhari said the agricultural policies of his administration was focused on achieving a sustainable green economy.
However, he emphasised the Universities of Agriculture must play their crucial roles in catalysing the development of the agricultural sector to achieve the government’s goal.
He told the institution that his administration was making efforts to put in place policies and programmes to strengthen agencies and parastatals to provide the enabling environment for increased production.
“To this end, NALDA has been re-constituted and re-established to promote mechanised agriculture.
The government expects that specialised Universities of Agriculture will collaborate with NALDA to ensure increased local production of food,” he added.
President Buhari Decries Nigerians’ Reliance On Imported Food