The Federal Government has disclosed plans to review the current import policy on staple food items such as rice, wheat and fish, within the next three years.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Arc. Sonny Echono, made this known at a recent meeting with the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Uju Hassan-Baba, in Abuja.
Arc. Echono, who described the current import policy on staple foods as “unfavourable,” said it would ensure that Nigeria becomes self sufficient in food production before the restriction of the importation of these food items.
According to a statement from the ministry, Arc. Echono said: “The ministry would in the next three years seek the review of the current unfavourable policy by the federal government which allows the importation of staple food items such as rice, wheat and fish into the country.”
He also stressed the need to link Nigerian farmers to the market, adding that it was one of the critical factors that would determine productivity and incomes of farmers as well as promote exports through value addition.
Arc. Echono underscored the need for attraction of more investments in the sector and explained that Nigeria had comparative advantage in the development of agricultural sector in view of its vast arable land, huge population and markets.
He pointed out that the main target of the ministry was to guarantee food security for the country as well as export food items to other countries in the West African sub-region.
In her reaction, Hassan-Baba called for the reestablishment of synergy that had existed over the years between the commission and the agriculture ministry.
She said there had been an increase in the demand of market information on agricultural activities in Nigeria by foreign investors, adding that a desk officer from the Ministry should be posted to the NIPC’s one-stop shop.
The NIPC boss, further disclosed that the commission would organise stakeholders’ forum on promoting investment in the agricultural sector, noting that the ministry had a critical role to play in order to ensure the success of the proposed forum which comes up in Abuja soon.