|President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan|
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has banned continental dishes at all government official functions in order to promote local foods.
He said, the move by the federal government to ban foreign foods at state functions is to encourage the consumption of what is produced locally.
“We must grow local, buy local and eat local,” he declared.
The prescribed local foods by the president, NaijaAgroNet learnt includes local rice and cassava bread, to make use of the large population to create market for locally produced foods.
In his democracy day presidential address, Jonathan noted that the state house has been feeding on cassava bread and local rice, hence keeping his promise.
“Our agricultural transformation agenda is directed at promoting local production,” he said.
President Jonathan also asserted that agriculture accounts for about 40 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while creating job opportunities for over 70 per cent of the total population.
He expressed the federal government’s move in the transforming the agriculture sector as Nigeria has a huge comparative advantage and increase in productivity, saying it would help reduce the rate of rural poverty as well as reviving the rural economy.
“Our goal is to add 20 million metric tonnes of food to our domestic food supply by 2015 and create 3.5 million jobs,” he said, stressing, “We are aggressively pursuing an agricultural transformation agenda.”
President Jonathan further affirmed that agriculture is no longer a development programme, hence the need to treat it as a business, one that could generate wealth and create jobs for millions of our youths.
Giving the reason behind the federal government stopping the distribution of fertilizers, the president said only 11 per cent of farmers benefit from the fertilizers that was earlier distributed. “The old system encouraged rent seekers to collude and deprive farmers of access to fertilizers, while some of the fertilizers ended up with political farmers and in neighbouring countries,” he said.
This, NaijaAgroNet learnt lead to the total deregulation of the procurement and commercialization of fertilizers and seeds by the federal government to the private sector in order to put an end to corruption culture in fertilizer procurement exercise.Yinka Awosanya/LS
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