Thursday, 4 May 2017

Obasanjo: It’s shameful we still import vegetables from S/Africa


Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has described as shameful the importation of vegetables from South Africa.

Obasanjo said in Abuja that despite the massive land and good vegetation in the country, larger per cent of vegetables used by hotels in Lagos are being imported.

The former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain said it was inappropriate and as such, every Nigerian should become a major stakeholder to reposition the agriculture sector.

According to him, with over 180 million people, the country could turn around food insecurity in the country and do exports.

His words: “let’s do something, we must all pledge to do something positive, let us be producers, we are all consumers, but we can do more than that. You are either a producer, a financier, a researcher, an enabler, an advocate, a processor, a marketer, an exporter.

“Let us do something positive and productive. God is at this time, giving us another chance, hence the present situation of our economy, are we going to accept the challenge and move forward, if we don’t we will have ourselves to blame as a nation.

“We have the land, we have the population, we are about 180 million, now let me digress a little bit, almost all the vegetables that the hotels in Lagos are using are being imported from South Africa, carrots, lettuce, cucumber, now population of South Africa is only 50 million, we are 180 million and we cannot produce vegetables, I think it is shameful.”

Speaking on the popular term, food security, Obasanjo defined it as a situation where people have access at all time to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.

“In short there must be availability of food which means there must be enough production or if you are not producing enough you are importing enough to make up for your shortfall in your production.

“There must be affordability, which means every family must be able to afford the food to make them live a healthy and an active life,” he added.

Though, the current administration under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development initiated the Green Alternative Policy, a four-year agricultural development plan to reposition the sector

It targeted vegetables as part of the priority commodities listed for exports. Vegetables were listed as pineapples, pawpaw, bananas, vegetables among others.

As contained in the policy document of the Buhari-led administration, the identified commodities are cocoa, cashew, cassava products such as ethanol, cassava starch and cassava chips. Other crops include ginger, sesame, oil palm, gum Arabic, fruits and yam.

No comments:

Post a Comment