The Chancellor, Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Dr. David Oyedepo on Thursday described the over dependence of Nigeria on imported agriculture produce as akin to ferreting diseases into the country.
Dr Oyedepo added that a country that is prodigiously blessed like Nigeria has no basis for importing chickens into the country.
The Chancellor said this in Omu-Aran, Irepodun local government at this year’s convocation lecture of Landmark University, adding that to neglect agriculture is tantamount to mortgaging the future of Nigeria.
His words: “We must shift from theory to things that address human issues. We need to come back to the real issues confronting use. We need to start creating solutions. A country that is enormously blessed
as Nigeria has no basis to import chickens from any part of the world.
We must invest in agricultural service to create the future of our dream and that is raw agricultural practices.
“We can solve our problems if we are committed enough, but I don’t think we are that committed. Everybody must play his own part in solving the problem of food security in the world. Africa is the worst hit by the food security ravaging the world. Let us give the people in other parts of the world the impression that Nigerians are thinking.”
Earlier, the Convocation lecturer, who doubles as the Managing Partner, Sahel Capital AgriBusiness Managers, Menzuo Nwunei said that Nigeria is not self-sufficient in food production, as it imports over
45 percent of its food needs.
Mr. Nwunei added that “Nigeria’s food imports have historically grown at a rate of 11 percent per year. The country’s major dependence on food imports is hurting local production, reducing local farmers’
welfare and contributing to increasing unemployment.
“Domestic inflation currently at about 18 percent is fuelled in part, by the demand for expensive food imports. The demand for food imports has placed download pressure on the value of the Naira and contributed to depleting foreign reserves.”
He said that Nigeria’s import dependency is not economically sustainable and therefore should be unacceptable. According to him, agriculture is the most important sector in the Nigerian economy but remains dominated by smallholder farmers who operate at a subsistence level.
Quoting the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the guest speaker said that between 2007 and 2016, over $113 billion was the foreign investment in Nigeria.
“Of and agribusiness related investments, the preponderance of the investment went into activities outside the major cities. About $427 million was geared towards agribusiness related investments,” he
He, however, said: “Even with this increase in investment, over $5 billion is needed to provide required financing for farmers and agribusinesses.”