9 February 2014

Nigeria: Former Agric Minister Wants FG to Reinvest Oil Wealth in Agriculture

A former Minister of Agriculture, Dr Shetima Mustapha, has advised the Federal Government to reinvest the nation's oil wealth in agriculture as a way of creating employment for the youth.

Mustapha gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

According to him, agriculture is a sector that cannot be exhausted if its potential is properly harnessed.

He said that it was only agricultural sector that had the capacity to absorb the teeming unemployed youths by providing a platform for mass food production for the populace.

"We could have devoted a substantial oil wealth into agriculture to have averted all these problems that we have been confronted with today.

"Though, It is not too late to do it because we can still project what Nigeria will be for another 100 years, therefore, it is not too late to go back and do the right thing.

"Agriculture is one sector that does not get tired with its practises; it does not get tired for investment.

"Today, we cannot feed ourselves successfully not because the soil cannot grow food, but our attitudes toward agriculture are not encouraging.

"I am appealing to policy makers to change their attitudes toward agriculture because agriculture is more than talking on Television.

"It is more than discussing in the Radio and making front pages of newspapers, agriculture is practical.

"Although it is not late for us as a nation to retrace our steps and change our attitudes by projecting Nigeria for another 100 years to come."

He said that the problem of youth restiveness could only be addressed if agriculture could be adopted as a major source of wealth for Nigeria.

"Although, we cannot blame only the present government for subjecting our youths to this situation, but policy summersaults from past governments has affected the entire agriculture sector and the youth are at the receiving end."

He noted that the entire food production chain could involve millions of people, thereby creating wealth for them.

Mustapha also advised governments at all levels to adopt policy continuity for sustainability of programme for effective delivery. (NAN)

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