Nigeria spends $11billion to import 4 commodities annually

Nigeria spends $11billion (N3.1trillion) annually to import wheat, rice, sugar and fish, the Lagos State Government has said.

The government disclosed this yesterday at a capacity building workshop for Heads of Agriculture, HODs of the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs in Lagos State, held at the State Government Secretariat, Alausa in Ikeja, Lagos.

At the event organised by the Lagos Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya said Nigeria’s importation rate had become worrisome.

Quoting from a Central Bank of Nigeria report, Onasanya over $11 billion was spent to import four consumable commodities – rice, wheat, fish and sugar annually, lamenting that the nation’s food import was growing at an unsustainable rate of 11 percent per annum.

He said relying on import of expensive food on global markets fuelled domestic inflation, adding that excessive imports putting high pressure on the naira is hurting the economy while import dependency is hurting the Nigerian farmers, displacing local production and creating rising unemployment.

Onasanya stated that the Lagos State Government had taken the bull by the horns to boost food production at the grassroots, saying that one way of doing that was to organize capacity building and empowerment for LG staff, increase farm size and productivity, among others.

He said local governments should be involved in the sensitisation and awareness creation for state and donor funded projects through existing structures, such as council of obas, among others as well as be involved in the mobilisation and formation of farmers into groups for participation in state and donor funded projects.

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