President Bola Tinubu has been advised to ban importation of any food that could be produced in Nigeria. An agriculturist, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Bama Farms, Prince Wale Oyekoya, made the call stating that Nigeria should grow what her citizens eat and eat what it grows. “Why should we be importing rice, palm oil, maize, vegetable oil, among others when we can grow and produce them in our backyard”, he queried.
Oyekoya while setting an agenda for the new administration at the federal level, said that the agriculture sector had long been neglected and had caused food crises in the country where most of the foodstuff is above the rich of average Nigerians. He called for a holistic overhauling or transformation of the nation’s agriculture sector, while urging President Tinubu to bring all stakeholders to a roundtable to discuss the way forward and to appoint technocrats and experienced professionals into the sector. On what needed to be done, he pointed out that land must be made available for real farmers and not speculators; also titles like the Certificate of Occupancy should be given for the land so that farmers can approach financial institutions for soft loans.
He also called for the provision of mechanised equipment to open up land for cultivation. Other things that needed to be done according to him, is to empower field officers to visit farms and educate farmers, introduce modern technology into the agricultural business such as small modern equipment to till, plant, fertilise, weed, harvest and storage facilities. He also called for the provision of storage facilities to all the farm settlements or congregation of farmers and also provides grants or soft loans through the banks to the real farmers and not to political farmers. Speaking further, he said there is need to improve on the value chains of farm produce through processing and also packing of farm produce to meet international standards.
“By doing this, the youths and our women will be gainfully employed and reduce all this ‘JAPA’ syndrome to Western countries. The same thing applies to all the state governments as the 1978 Land Use Act entrusted all the lands to state governors, saying states and local governments are in the best position to revamp our agricultural sectors and provide more jobs to their citizens. He added that the President should call all the state governors to build food processing centres in all their senatorial districts thereby adding value to their farm produce.