Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, Thursday sought the assistance of the Senate to review the export prohibition law to enable the country export certain food items including yam and goat meat.
Ogbe told the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development that the country cannot export certain agro-products because of the law prohibiting their export.
The minister specifically mentioned yam as one of the agro-products that cannot be exported because of its prohibition.
He said, “It cannot be exported because of the law. You have to help us. The law banning certain things including yam has to be amended. We have the request of goat meat from Qatar. We have the request of 120,000 goat carcass per week from Qatar. But there is a law you can’t export.”
Ogbe noted that at least N500 billion should be set aside by the Federal Government as Agricultural Fund to move the sector forward.
The minister who said that credit facility for farmers remained a big issue insisted that “we have to find funds for agriculture and if we don’t have up to N500 billion for agriculture we are not going anywhere.”
He said that big time farmers in the country are foreigners because they have access to funds.
Ogbe said that although foreigners should invest in agriculture to create employment in the country, local farmers should also be empowered to invest in big time farming.
The minister decried the attitude of the elite who thought that “there is nothing in agriculture” and appealed for a change of attitude.
Ogbe muted the idea of the introduction of scale as a means of buying and selling in the country.
He said, “We have to introduce scale. If you want to buy a bag of rice, what is a bag of rice. It should be weighed and you pay. If you want to buy onions, it is weighed and you pay. A buyer should know what he is paying for. We are working on it.”
On the menace of kidnappers, Ogbe said that the Federal Government would soon roll out fully armed 3000 Agric Rangers trained by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to guard farms and their owners.
He said that his ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior engaged the Agric Rangers and will soon begin operation.
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Author: Onyedi Ojiabor, Abuja