By Simon Akoje
Lagos, Oct. 15, 2020 An Agriculture Economist, Mr Nnamdi Infenkwe, has urged the Federal Government to support the growth of mechanised agriculture in order to attain food sufficiency.
Infenkwe, who is the Senior Manager of Nissi Agro Allied Services, told Naija247news in Lagos on Thursday that encouraging more mechanised agriculture would boost food output.
According to him, the current subsistence agriculture practice in many states is responsible for the high volume of food imports as the system does not produce enough to satisfy local needs.
He also suggested that the federal government should support farmers with more soft loans to improve their production and harvest.
Naija247news reports that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) estimates that Nigeria spends five billion dollars to import foods annually, out of which $1.5 billion goes to importation of milk.
The Permanent Secretary of FMARD, Mr Abdulkadir Muazu, had stated this at a workshop of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations Technical Cooperation Project (TCP).
The workshop focused on the implementation of the national livestock transformation plan in Niger and Kaduna states.
“We expect the government to assist us with more loans to acquire improved seedlings and modern farming tools.
“Although the Bank of Agriculture does give some credit facilities to our members, this is not enough to change the narrative,” he said.
The expert said that the federal government should continue to enhance the business environment in the agriculture sector in order to attract investors to its various value chains.
He added that milk imports would have been reduced if the federal government’s policy on cattle grazing area was sustained.
“The programme was politicised and stopped because of its rejections from the political class.
“Now we are still a net importer of milk in spite of the number of herds of cattle in our country,” he said.
By Simon Akoje