President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria cannot continue to spend huge sums on the importation of foods that farmers in the country can produce.
The President stated this on Tuesday in Birnin Kebbi while inaugurating the 2015/16 Anchor Borrowers’ Dry Season Rice Planting Programme sponsored by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Buhari observed that the importance of agriculture in the economy of the country could not be overemphasised as it provided the foundation on which the country’s economy was built prior to the discovery of oil.
“The importance of agriculture in the economy cannot be over emphasised. Prior to the advent of oil, our country survived on agricultural production with huge economic potentials from our palm oil, groundnuts, cotton, and rubber plantations.
“During this period, the economies of our sub-region were built on agricultural activities and our gross domestic product grew steadily.
“The discovery of oil was expected to compliment our agricultural productivity, but we allowed oil to almost completely replace it.
“The current trend in the international oil market has brought to the fore the urgent need to diversify both the productive and revenue bases of our economy and conserve our foreign reserve by limiting our appetite for importation of goods that we can easily produce locally.’’
He stressed the need for the urgent diversification of the nation’s economy in view of the dwindling revenue from oil occasioned by the fall in oil prices in the international market.