Agriculture

Agriculture holds key, say Osinbajo, Obasanjo, Abdulsalami

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, yesterday said that agriculture will take Nigeria out recession.

They urged Nigerians focus more on the sector.

According to Prof Osinbajo, a sustainable growth in agriculture has an important role to play in the government’s economy diversification policy and the food security drive.

Osinbajo, who spoke yesterday in Minna at the Niger State Investment Summit, believed that Nigeria could feed 50 per cent of the Africa if it can harness its agricultural potentials.

He said that the Federal and Niger State governments have been collaborating to reposition the state to feed the nation, urging other state governments to harness their agricultural potentials.

He commended the state government’s measures in attracting investors and harnessing its economic potentials, urging it to do more to compliment the federal government’s efforts, especially in infrastructural development.

Chief Obasanjo said that only agriculture can take the nation out of recession, saying that the sector can sustain the nation, create jobs and the wealth needed to make the nation great again.

He said: “If we have anything to take us out of recession and to lift Nigeria. It is agribusiness and not oil or minerals because it is the renewable business that we can do to sustain us and give us all the job creation and wealth creation we need in the country.”

The former President, however, called on the Federal Government to draw up policies that would reduce the interest rate being charged by banks on loan-seeking farmers, adding that the interest rates were killing agriculture and agribusinesses.

“There is need for available of fund and the rate of loans to farmers should be conducive for agribusiness.

Charging of double digit interest rate by banks has caused the failure of agriculture in the country”, he said.

Gen. Abubakar urged the banks to look into their interest rate and come up with rates that would be friendly to farmers to encourage agricultural development.

He described as encouraging that agriculture was taking the centre stage in the country. According to him, food would soon cease to be a challenge as investments in agriculture would have addressed it.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Muhammadu Abubakar III described the struggle for power devolution in many quarters as unnecessary.

According to him, those advocating the devolution of powers should exert their energies on the devolution of the economy.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello described the summit as a paradigm shift of the economy from oil revenues to agriculture facing the challenges.

He expressed optimism that the summit would open the state to the global community and showcase its potentials of investment opportunities.

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