The Minister of agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said that the country could put the growing population into good use by increasing local production of food crops. Leadership Reports.
The minister posited that Nigeria’s population which would grow to 200 million people by the year 2020 could be an advantage for food production if the country could hasten to take the agriculture sector to the level of China, India, and other nations of the western world.
Ogbeh said, “In four years time our population will be 200 million people and we can put that population into good use if we have the capacity and become more organized like the Chinese or Indians.”
The minister made this known when he received in audience a delegation from the Kingdom of The Netherlands led by its Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr John Groffen in his office. He maintained that there is an urgent need for the country to grow more food crops in order to meet the demands of its growing population and seek for more support from the international community towards the sustainable development of the agriculture sector. According to him, the sector would require international support in its programmes and initiatives, such as the cattle breeding improvement, climate change, standardization and certification of food products, seed development and improvement, capacity building, among others.
Ogbeh further sought the assistance of The Netherlands Government on area of machinery that could convert shafts from rice mills in the country to briquettes for household uses, adding that the present administration was poised to take life back to the rural areas, mostly for women and the youths. He stated that the ministry was working in collaboration with other relevant ministries, like the ministries of works, environment, water resources and industry, trade and investment, to grow and develop the sector.
Earlier, The Netherlands’ Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr John Groffen who led the delegation said that the purpose of their visit was to explore areas of collaboration with the ministry, describing the challenges facing the nation’s agricultural sector as enormous. He stated that Nigeria and The Netherlands which had in existence a business relationship would now enjoy symbiotic sustainable development enterprises with an assurance that varied opportunities inherent in Nigeria’s agricultural sector would be showcased to potential investors in The Netherlands.
He assured the ministry of the continued support of The Netherlands Government in up-scaling the growth of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.