Raw cashew nuts export to stop next year
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has insisted that Nigeria will invest in cattle ranching as a solution to the farmers-herders crisis.
While delivering a lecture yesterday on Technology and Agricultural Revolution: A tool for economic growth’, organised by Catholic Brothers United at St Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, the minister said the crisis has become both a national phenomenon and a regional threat.
Ogbeh also disclosed that export of raw cashew nuts would end by August 2019, as government would procure machinery to process the nut in the country.This, he said, will create jobs and increase foreign exchange earnings.
Lashing critics who said Nigeria had no business in private cattle ventures, he noted that the crisis has become a national concern, threatening the peaceful co-existence and unity of Nigerians.
If the government did not get involved, the crisis might persist, killings might continue and food production and security would be disturbed, he said.While listing government’s efforts to develop agriculture, Ogbeh added: “If we do not fix agriculture, Nigeria will be in trouble; and if Nigeria is in trouble, where will Nigerian refugees go? Are we heading for Niger, Benin Republic, Chad or where?”He traced the challenges in agriculture to commercial oil exploration, saying the country was supplying over 40 per cent of world palm oil demand before the oil boom.
The minister revealed that government was partnering with federal universities of agriculture, in conjunction with the National University Commission (NUC), to make their graduates employers of labour by engaging in agriculture after graduation.Group managing Director of Elephant Group, Tunji Owoeye, commended the government, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee for the reduction in the interest rate to the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.