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The minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has assured Nigerians that the federal government is working round the clock to avert any imminent famine in 2017.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja at the weekend, Chief Ogbeh lamented that the Nigerian elite had distanced themselves from agriculture in the last five decades, since the discovery of oil, a development he blamed for the current food insufficiency in the country.
The minister also blamed urban migration for neglect of agriculture among Nigerians, especially the youth, adding that it was high time the youth engaged in agriculture aggressively.
According to him, the Ministry of Agriculture had, in the last one year, ensured food sufficiency and security through a religious implementation of government policies and programmes.
« We came in a year ago; precisely on 15 November, 2015. And ever since then, we have continued the push for food sufficiency. The first step we took was to inform the world that there would be no policy summersault. And we have kept to that!
« So we decided to widen and deepen existing policies and programmes for sustainable development, » he said.
He further noted that the demand for grains by neighbouring countries has resulted in the current shortfall in food supply, adding that this has shot up the population demanding grains by additional 180 million.
« It is a bit of difficulty for us here, because we are not yet producing as much grains as is required to meet the feeding needs of the country. But we cannot ban exports because of ECOWAS Treaty that goods produced in Africa can move freely, » he added.