Dr Victor Iyama, the President, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria(FACAN), says Nigeria has over 52 agro commodities to enable it earn over 100 billion dollars annually.
Iyama made this known while leading a session at the 2019 Feed Nigeria Summit in Abuja on Wednesday.
He decried that in spite of abundant agro commodities in the country, the agricultural sector had not been able to contribute meaningfully to economic growth since the advent of oil.
He said FACAN had taken up the challenge to ensure that the country gained meaningfully from its agricultural resources as it ought to.
“There are about 52 agro commodities that can earn the country about 100billion dollar annually.
“FACAN has put up a position paper to the proper authorities on how this can be achieved.
“Besides earning revenue for the country, Nigeria has no business with poverty. We are blessed with all agricultural commodities.
“For instance, Indian hemp is a goldmine. We cannot have this million dollar commodity and be burning it.
“It is an agro commodity that takes only three months to cultivate and we will not wait until other countries overrun us on that anymore,” he said.
On economic subversion, Iyama said one of the major things impeding growth in the agricultural sector was smuggling.
He decried that the level of smuggling in the country was worrisome.
He said while there was no doubt that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was not living up to expectations, curbing smuggling should be a collective effort.
“Yes customs is to blame to an extent but we all share in the blame.
“We keep talking about customs not doing enough but the truth is that many stakeholders have to be involved in curbing smuggling.
“The customs has not really man the porous borders as it should. Except we use technology like drones, there is no how customs can effectively police the borders,” he said.
“Yes we have oil, solid mineral, ICT and other things but we cannot drink oil or eat solid mineral and so, agro economy is the way to go.”
He said one of the ways to boost agriculture in the country was to explore the latest form of warehouses which have facilities to preserve agro commodities.
According to him, building such warehouses can cut down on the amount of post harvest losses, adding “we produce so much and lose 40 per cent to 50 per cent due to lack of proper storage’’.
“Some Russians recently disclosed that warehouses with special features that can preserve every form of commodity for up to nine months are being built today.
“It is no longer time to talk as a nation but to act.”
Edited by Grace Yussuf
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