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It is a shame Nigeria spent N7.8 trillion on food importing, says Gov Otti



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Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has made a case for establishing agricultural ventures across Nigeria as a panacea to food insecurity.

While giving reasons for all to embrace agriculture for sufficiency, the governor highlighted that the Nigerian government spent a whopping N7.8 trillion on food imports over the past six years.

The governor made the call during a capacity-building training program for the first batch of 300 applicants selected for agricultural training at CSS Global Integrated Farm, Nasarawa State.

Otti stressed the role of agriculture in not only addressing issues of food security but also in combating unemployment and fostering socio-economic stability.

The governor pointed out that Nigeria is blessed with abundant arable land and, as such, should not be burdened with exorbitant import bills, stressing the need for a paradigm shift and the urgency of stakeholders to take the issue seriously.

“It is a shame that a country of over 200 hundred million people with so much arable land, reputed as the largest producers and cultivators of food items, spend so much money importing food.

“Statistics show that in the last six years, this country has spent about N7.8 trillion to import food.

“In 2021, we spent about N1.9 trillion; in 2022 & 2023, we spent about N2 trillion each year importing food, so to put it in context, our budget for 2024 is somewhere around N28 trillion; 27.5 trillion and then upgraded to about N28 trillion.

“Don’t also forget that these kind of numbers were not seen between 2015 and 2019. The budget numbers were hovering around 7-10 trillion. So when you spend over 11% of your total buffet importing food, it is a big shame, particularly when you are blessed with land,” he said.

Otti, while noting that the two-week agricultural training is aimed at enhancing local food production, asked the trainees to be good ambassadors of the state as well as leverage the opportunity and equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to spearhead agricultural transformation in the state.

He pledged comprehensive support to trainees, saying that the state government would cover all expenses from inception to completion of their agricultural training.



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