Business/Economy

Ukrainian wheat: Expert calls for end to over-reliance on agro-imports

Supreme Desk
11 Aug 2022 11:51 AM GMT
Ukrainian wheat: Expert calls for end to over-reliance on agro-imports
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The expert said that rejoicing over the expected arrival of wheat import from Ukraine to quell the rising price of bread was an anomaly.

An agriculture expert, Dr Fadlullah Issa, has called for an end to over-reliance on agro-imports to boost the nation's agriculture sector.

Issa, a fellow at the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), made the call in an interview on Thursday in Lagos.

The expert said that rejoicing over the expected arrival of wheat import from Ukraine to quell the rising price of bread was an anomaly.

According to him, "To stop over-reliance on outside sources for produce such as wheat is not rocket science, when we have so much arable land.

"It is a shame that we are rejoicing over the first batch of wheat being imported into the country since the Ukraine/Russia war began.

"It is a big shame that we are still involved in the importation of essential agro- produce in the country.

"When we have abundance of land, why should we import in the first place? This is some of the anomaly the government wanted to correct but even we Nigerians, we are not ready for change," he said.

Issa reiterated the need as a nation to consume only what we produce locally.

He added that we must curb the growing appetite for imported agro-produce.

He said reliance on locally grown food would help to boost the nation's economy.

"There was a minister of agriculture who once insisted on the use of cassava for bread but was not embraced by Nigerians.

"It is a matter of taste, if we have been eating what we produce, our taste would have changed a long time ago.

"We should adopt that mantra of 'what we produce, is what we eat' like other countries. We should engage in backward integration.

"We have places in this country where wheat can be cultivated and grown well but the efforts put into the process is minimal. It shows that we are not actually serious about agriculture.

"We are not supposed to have any business importing any agriculture produce with the climate, the arable land, and great resource God has given to us.

"And importation kills local agro-productivity. We are complaining over inflation rates but we are actually the cause," Issa said.

He noted that imports had plunged the country into serious debts over the years.

"Rejoicing over the import of wheat is deceptive, it does not benefit our country in any way.

"We should lockdown the economy and advance the policy of 'what we eat, is what we produce' and it will be to our advantage.

"We need to go back to the drawing board and get things right in agriculture ,we have a lot of policy statement very good on book but no implementation," he added.

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