Over 13 million Nigerians are currently engaging themselves in planting and harvesting of rice which is sold to retailers across the country, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said.
Speaking in Lagos at this year’s Catholic Brother United (CBU) of St. Agnes Catholic Church Maryland, Ogbeh said Nigeria still maintains the number one spot in the world when it comes to the production of yam and cassava worldwide because the country accounts for 70percent of the world’s total consumption of yam. He said three universities of agriculture are now under his ministry with the partnership of the National University Commission (NUC) in the belief that a graduate from the University of Agriculture should be a professionally trained farmer.
He said: “It is the private sector that must be enhanced and grow the economy and the federal government is doing that. We are expanding the production of cassava produce and very soon we will go into syrups with PZ Nigeria. We are going into ethanol to support petroleum and make it climate friendly which is what is being done in Brazil. Ethanol from sugarcane or from cassava that is mixed with petrol so as to give them the kind of petrol that they needed,” he added.
Ogbeh assures Nigerians that by the end of this year, if all the machinery being built locally are in place, there will be enough feeds for cattle from agro waste, rice stalks, cassava leaves, maize stalks, millet stalks and so on, which will bring an end to the crisis of herdsmen and farmers in the country.
The union’s president, Emmanuel Okoro, said the essence of the lecture was meant to provide opportunities for farmers, intending farmers, agro-entrepreneurs and the entire citizenry to get better understanding on the role of technology in the agricultural sector and the economy at large.