Muhammad Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has said many Nigerians go to bed hungry because of the country’s poor processing of food and lack of synergy between the sector and industry.
Nanono, who spoke at the recently concluded Feed Nigeria Summit in Abuja, argued that the country produces enough food but many citizens go hungry because they do not have enough money to buy the food.
He further attributed the problem to unemployment and lack of education, saying the factors constitute great challenge to the country.
“I recently met with some young Nigerians who are into processing and synergising agriculture with industry, and that is exactly what we need in this country”, he said.
“Unless we create that relationship and make it strong, poverty will persist.
“There is no seminar on agriculture I have attended that does not mention our value chains. We have done a lot in that regard and have even gained international recognition.
“If we do not focus on how to remove this fundamental issue of an army of unemployed youths and move them to be gainfully employed, we are doing nothing. The relationship between the agricultural and industrial sectors is a must”.
The minister stated that the federal government has continued to implement new strategies to aid the development of the agricultural sector and strengthen the value chain.
“The focus of the National Agricultural Transformation and Innovation Plan (NATIP) is to aid a new strategy that will strengthen the agricultural financial system, reduce food imports and help to refocus attention on agriculture as a key driver of the Nigerian economy,’’ he added.
He lamented that Nigeria still imports a significant amount of food and not earning as much foreign exchange as we should from agriculture.
Nanono said that for this reason, it has become imperative to re-strategise and deploy innovation to tackle the longstanding issues and lead Nigeria towards food sufficiency.