Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has urged Nigerians to invest more in the development of agriculture in the country, saying the move would increase the nation’s foreign exchange earnings and boost the economy of the country.
The Minister spoke at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) at the weekend.
He submitted that the country was losing a staggering sum of $9b annually due to poor investment in agricultural businesses.
The Minister said Nigeria was also losing over 240 million metric tonnes of fish production in the world market that could have increased foreign earnings and boost her economy before the advent of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Lokpobiri stated that due to government’s laxity, many of the country’s agricultural products were being exported to other West African nations and branded in the names of those countries after processing , making Nigeria to lose revenue earnings.
Lokpobiri urged all Nigerian universities to emulate ABUAD’s landmark exploits in farming, describing the university as setting a pace for the country to actualise food security status.
He expressed fear that the country may witness serious famine in future with the projection that its population may hit 250 million by 2030, warning that it was high time governments started planning to checkmate such occurrence.
The Minister promised that the Federal Government would partner ABUAD in the area of agriculture and training of young graduates to boost food production .
He said the 400 -bed Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital had launched the country on the world’s map of medical tourism, describing it as a wasteful effort for any Nigerian to be seeking medical treatment abroad with the facilities in the hospital.
On the ABUAD teaching hospital, Lokpobiri said: “The era when people sought medical tourism in Dubai, India and USA is gone. Why must you struggle to get visas again when you have ABUTH. The personnel and facilities there are second to none”.