Focus on agriculture’ll reduce food imports —Utomi

Focus on agriculture’ll reduce food imports —Utomi

Focus on agriculture’ll reduce food imports —Utomi

by February 22, 2016 0 comments

Renowned economist and the president, Center for Values in Leadership, Professor Pat Utomi, has urged the Federal Government to pay greater attention to the agricultural sector in order to prevent rising food import bill.

Utomi, who spoke in an exclusive interview with our correspondent, expressed concern about the huge amount of foreign exchange spent on importation of food annually adding that a total focus on agriculture was the only way out of the situation.

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had disclosed in January that food import bill increased to N917.6bn in the first nine months of 2015 in the face of declining foreign reserves.

Earlier in September 2015, Emefiele had lamented that the country spent over N630bn on importation of agricultural produce including wheat.

Earlier in 2013, Nigeria’s food import bill had declined, according to a former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

It was reported that food import bill dropped from a total of N1.4trn in 2009 to N717bn as of December, 2013, representing a decline of N429bn.

Utomi advocated a return to agriculture adding that the sector should be made profitable so that more and more people could invest. He said the food value chain should be consolidated and Nigeria should look inwards and identify products that it had competitive advantage over to be able to produce locally and also export.

PUNCH.

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