From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration will not rest in continually reviewing and strengthening ongoing reforms in the agricultural sector until Nigeria regains its pride of place as a food-exporting country.
He stated this when he received a delegation of All Progressives Congress (APC) from Kebbi State in the Presidential Villa.
He said though the country’s huge rice import bill had dropped significantly by more than 90 per cent, it is not good enough by his expectation.
“Beyond self-sufficiency, we must strive to become net exporters of food commodities,” he said.
“We are not doing badly in the agricultural sector and Nigerians, and the world, are beginning to appreciate our efforts. We will not be satisfied; we will work harder until we start exporting food.
“We are happy that rice and beans importation into the country have gone down by over 90 per cent, and visibly everyone can see how productive states like Kebbi have turned out to be and states like Lagos, Ogun and Ebonyi are following the example.”
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Sokoto states had already reported remarkable turnaround in the agricultural sector, with more youths taking interest in entrepreneurship.
Buhari said he disagreed with the astronomical food import bill presented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from the inception of the administration, pointing out that it was later discovered to be “fraudulent practices’’ by some of the elite to deplete the foreign reserves.