VP Osinbajo advocates agriculture for economic diversification

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo says the fastest way to get out current economic challenges Nigeria is facing is to embrace agriculture.

Professor Osinbajo stated this during a meeting with a delegation of Nigeria Agribusiness Group at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“There is no question at all, agriculture is the way to go. Government is determined. The President has said the way out of our economic challenges is agriculture and that is what to do,” he noted.

He said once Nigerian products are properly standardized and packaged, exporting agricultural items would become much easier as standardization will promote the acceptance of such products abroad.

According to him, “standardisation is very important, we must get all the agencies such as the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Export Promotion Council and others engaged in standardization to look into this issue and agree to some kind of standard. It is important we get support for standardization of our products.”

He said the quickest way to surmount the rejection of Nigerian products is to involve buyers of the products.

“I think the first thing is that we must involve those who are buying our products so that we are able to surmount the difficulties quickly. We should not think that so long we are okay with our products here, others out there can accept them,” he said.

He therefore advised those engaged in manufacturing and producing any kind of goods from the country to take the issue of standardization serious.

Inputs and Funding

On the issue of farm inputs raised by the Agribusiness Group, the Acting President said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to take agriculture beyond the level it was, to where Nigerian youth would be happy to get involved.

“Mr President is determined, we have to look into the issue of fertilizer, quality seeds and timely delivery of inputs to the farmers,” he stated further.

Professor Osinbajo said it would be necessary to convene a meeting with banks on the need for proper funding of the agriculture sector.

He however, cautioned: “we must recognize that the banks have options they do not want to take risk,” and therefore advised the group “to look at some kind of private intervention not just from the banks and be creative.”

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the group and the Vice President, Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Sani Dangote, said Nigeria Agribusiness Group is a non-profit organisation comprising of different associations as well as a unified voice representing the interest of private and public sector stakeholders in the agriculture value chain, including small, medium and large farmer groups and cooperatives.

He said the delegation was in Nigeria to introduce the Association to the Vice President and to discuss the way forward concerning Nigeria agribusiness.

Dangote assured the government that as a partner in progress, the group wants government to engage them in policy issues in the agriculture sector.

 

Nnenna.O