The United States Consulate General, John Bray has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to increase its investments in agriculture to meet the country’s increasing population growth.
John Bray, who was represented by the Regional Agricultural Counselor in the Embassy, Jude Akhidenor, reiterated the need to tap into the opportunities available in Nigeria’s 36 states.
Ahhidenor made the remark at the African Food and Products Exhibition and Conference (AFPE) organized by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) in Lagos.
Speaking at the event, which was themed “Non-Oil Exports: Scaling Up Productivity to Meet Global Demand,” he also maintained that the agricultural sector can help provide more jobs for Nigerians.
He said, “While there has been increasing human development in Nigeria over the past several 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 hold back economic development.”
He also explained that in the next five years, more than 370 million youths, including those in Nigeria would enter Africa’s labour market.
“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,” he said.
Also speaking during the event, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, defended that the FG was working on the potential of agriculture for the Nigeria economy.
She said, “In fact, this is why agriculture is one of 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.”
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