While the nation was observing its Democracy Day, on Tuesday, May 29, the United States Consulate General, John Bray tasked the Federal Government on the need to augment its agricultural sector seeing its ever-growing population.
Bray made the charge at the African Food and Products Exhibition and Conference (AFPE) in Lagos, where he was represented by the Regional Agricultural Counselor in the Embassy, Jude Akhidenor.
At the event organized by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), the consulate noted that the country’s agricultural sector had the capacity to end major economic issues plaguing it – including the startling rate of unemployment.
Speaking on the theme: “Non-Oil Exports: Scaling up Productivity to Meet Global Demand,” Bray said statistics have shown that Africa’s labour market is set to receive a whopping 370 million youths in the next five years.
In his words: “While there has been increasing human development in Nigeria over the past years, huge inequalities still persist between men and women in the country.
“In many areas, particularly the agricultural sector, low productivity and lack of investment as well as limited or absence of infrastructure holds back economic development.
“It is necessary for private enterprises working closely with government institutions at all levels to create more jobs. The population growth combined with climate change will exert increasing pressure on natural resources such as food, water, and land.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, explained that the federal government is passionately working hard to ensure the agricultural sector drives the nation’s economy to its place of Eldorado.
The minister said, “In fact, this is why agriculture is one of the six sectors identified for growth in the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP).
“For us as a nation, agriculture should not be treated as just a social sector intervention for managing poverty, but more as a business for creating wealth and empowering citizens.
“It is the kind of business that can help many African nations, including Nigeria; diversify revenue, reduce import dependency, create jobs and develop rural areas.”