The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, has disclosed that the country “can produce food to feed itself only if it can recognise its market, which is capable of contributing immensely to the economy.”
The minister, who made the disclosure Monday at a press briefing in Abuja to mark this year’s World Food Day, said the country had reached the stage of feeding itself and extending help to other countries “as food can move from a surplus area to deficit areas.”
Nanono said the border closure was triggered by the importation of expired raw materials and foodstuffs into the country, adding that the custom would double its efforts so that the country would have a better comparative advantage than most of the African countries.
He said, “The policy of the government is to feed ourselves, I think when the government came out with a policy on rice, most people were uneasy because they were used to importing foreign rice. Our country became a dumping ground for some of these expired rice smuggled into this country. So, the decision was taken to close the border in order to sanitise those stakeholders who solely depend on imported food.
“I went on tour to Borno and Bauchi states and from the reports that I have seen, there will be a bumper harvest. There were some problems of flood in certain areas like Borno and part of Yobe and Adamawa states that inflicted heavy damage on available crops but I think those parts of the country with surplus will make up for those parts with deficit because Nigeria will come to a stage where we will feed ourselves and extend our hands to our neighbours.”
The country representative, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Suffyan Koroma, in his remarks, harped on the need for government to adopt policies, food standards and regulations that would prioritise the availability and affordability of safe foods.
He said the private sector could positively influence the food environment by adapting its products to modern nutritional recommendations.