Food Security: FG Prioritising Rice, Cassava, Yam Says Agric Minister

Gilbert Ekugbe

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has stated that rice, cassava and yam are among the top priority crops for the attainment of food security in Nigeria.

Abubakar, stated this when he received the delegation led by the Convener of the proposed Nigeria Oil Palm Summit, Mr. Fatai Afolabi in his office in Abuja.

He said: “Rice, Cassava and Yam are top priorities in the agricultural sector. I am urging stakeholders to use the summit to think, plan ahead and develop a policy that would put Nigeria back on track.”  

The minister tasked stakeholders in the oil palm sub sector on the need to reposition Nigeria to its rightful position of exporting to other nations.

Abubakar noted that “in the early 60s Nigeria’s agriculture sector was the major source of revenue, but today the country is struggling to be a big agricultural nation,” adding that it is not too late for Nigeria to reposition itself.

He pointed out that it is worrisome that Malaysia came to Nigeria some years back to get oil palm seedlings and have today became the number one producers of oil palm in the world while Nigeria is ranked the 5th position. 

He added: “Not just proposing to have a summit but a lot of thinking and planning must be carried out to avoid past mistakes,” and pledged to “work with any organisation to achieve the economic diversification policy of the present administration.”

He commended the stakeholders for their efforts towards repositioning Nigeria oil palm, assuring that the ministry would collaborate and give necessary assistance to ensure oil palm sub sector strives.

In his remarks, Afolabi pointed out that the importance of oil palm in Nigeria could not be over emphasised, adding that it was a means of livelihood, fuel and raw materials for industries. 

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