The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has disclosed that the Federal Government intends to review the import policy on rice, fish, wheat and other staple products in the next three years.
The Permanent Secretary, Sonny Echono who disclosed this during a meeting with the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Uju Hassan-Baba, described the current import policy on staple foods as unfavourable, adding that it would ensure that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in food production before the restriction of the importation of these food items.
In a statement made available to newsmen, 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.”
The Permanent Secretary said that one of the critical factors that would determine productivity and incomes of farmers as well as promote exports through value addition, is the need to link Nigerian farmers to the market.
The statement noted that the ministry and the Nigeria Investment and Promotion Commission (NIPC) had resolved to partner in the promotion of strategic investments in the agricultural sector.
It said the permanent secretary in the FMARD, together with the executive secretary of NIPC, made the resolution when the investment promotion commission’s boss paid Echono a working visit in his office.
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 said 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.
On her own part, the NIPC boss, Uju 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.
Hassan-Baba 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.