By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Audu Ogbeh has blamed the present recession in the country on the adoption of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) introduced during the administration of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
Ogbeh was speaking on Tuesday during Special Town Hall Meeting organized by the Ministry in collaboration with the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) in Abuja.
“We have heard of terrible stories of parent using their children as collateral for food without intending to get them back. All these we heard.
“The present situation didn’t just happened, it was bound to come and I can say it is dated back to 1986 when we adopted the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)”.
He said, though many right thinking Nigerians opposed to the adoption of SAP, but the government of the day insisted and foist it on Nigerians which the result is the present recession we are faced with.
He said what Indian and Malaysia rejected and today they are self-sufficient in food production Nigerian accepted and today Nigeria spend about $20bn on food importation.
Ogbeh added that when the new government came in they met a lot of challenges regarding the policies of the previous administration, but the new government decided to deepen and widen the policies.
He explained that “we are about to restructure the bank of Agriculture, every farmer would be a shareholder, we want to bring the interest rate to as close to 5% because we have to decide what we eat, people would criticize us for that, but that is what they do in Europe, there is no European country where interest
rate is higher than 3.5% to Agriculture.
Ogbeh reiterated government commitment to providing ranches and grazing reserves for herdsmen with the agreement of states who are willing to support the project in their states.
He said “the simple solution to the farmers/herders crisis is to give the herdsmen good grass, good water and a comfortable environment; they don’t want to roam.
Speaking on government efforts to boast agriculture yield he said “we embarked on the new soil map of this country, which has produced new blind of fertilizer; I want to ask everyone of you here never ever to go to your farm and apply MPK 15, 15, 16 no piece of soil in this country can absorb, you are destroying the soil and diminishing your yield. It would soon be published in a booklet for every Nigeria to have the kind of fertilizer suitable for all crops in all state of the Federation.
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON