President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said crude oil and gas exports would no longer be sufficient as the country’s major revenue earner.
He said time has therefore come for Nigerians to do more than pay mere lip service to agriculture.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke while granting audience to the Nigerian-born President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“It’s time to go back to the land. We must face the reality that the petroleum we had depended on for so long will no longer suffice. We campaigned heavily on agriculture, and we are ready to assist as many as want to go into agricultural ventures,” Adesina quoted President as saying.
Buhari also pledged that his administration would cut short the long bureaucratic processes that Nigerian farmers had to go through to get any form of assistance from government.
He told the IFAD President that improvement of the productivity of farmers, dry season farming, and creative ways to combat the shrinking of the Lake Chad will also receive the attention of his administration.
“There is so much to be done. We will try and articulate a programme and consult organisations like IFAD for advice,” the President said.
He added that foreign exchange would be conserved for machinery and other items needed for production, instead of using it to import things like toothpicks.
Nwanze congratulated Buhari on his victory at the general elections and assured him that IFAD was ready to give all possible assistance to the Federal Government and Nigerian farmers to boost agricultural production in the country.
IFAD is an international organisation dedicated to addressing issues of agriculture and poverty alleviation. It was established in 1978, and has been collaborating with Nigeria for over 30 years.