THE Federal Government wants friends of Nigeria like the United States (U.S.) to invest massively in the country’s agricultural sector because, among other reasons, the good old sector is now part of its national security. Making the disclosure at the weekend at the close of an investment forum on agriculture in Washington DC, U.S., Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, said “Today, in the face of food insecurity, growing population, famine in some parts of the world and rising unemployment among our youths, it is only proper as a responsible government to shift focus back to agriculture. That underpins the socio-economic transformation of Nigeria on a sustainable basis.”
In his words, “one of the main drivers of the transformation process is the agriculture sector which has been growing at 7.8 per cent but requires more action for the nation to achieve food security, develop value chain for exports and create employment. In pursuit of this goal, an Agricultural Transformation Action Plan (ATAP) is being implemented through which 3.5 million jobs are to be created by 2012. Concerted efforts are also being made to focus on rice, cassava, sorghum, cocoa and cotton production.”
Ashiru maintained that the U.S. Export-Import Bank coincided the forum with its Annual General Meeting (AGM) so that Nigeria’s power and agricultural programmes can be discussed.