The Federal Government said it plans to review import policy on staple food items such as rice, wheat and fish.
The government, which described the policy as “unfavourable,” added that it would ensure that the country was self-sufficient in food production before the restriction of the importation of these food items.
Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sonny Echono, spoke in Abuja during a meeting with the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Uju Hassan-Baba.
A statement endorsed by the Director of Information and Protocol, Mr. Tony Ohaeri, explained that government will soon seek ways of reviewing the unfavourable policy.
He said:“The ministry would in the next three years seek the review of the current unfavorable policy by the Federal Government which allows the importation of staple food items such as rice, wheat and fish into the country.”
It added that the Ministry and NIPC had resolved to partner in the promotion of strategic investments in the agricultural sector.
It underscored the need to attract more investments in the sector, explaining that Nigeria has comparative advantage in the development of agricultural sector in view of her vast arable land, huge population and markets.
Echono pointed out that the main target of the Ministry was to guarantee food security for the country as well as export food items to other countries in the West African sub-region.
Echono also stressed the need to link Nigerian farmers to the market, adding that it was one of the critical factors that would determine productivity and incomes of farmers as well as promote exports through value addition.
In her response, the Executive Secretary of NIPC, Uju Hassan-Baba, called for the reestablishment of synergy that had existed over the years between the Commission and Ministry.
Hassan-Baba said there had been an increase in the demand for market information on agricultural activities in Nigeria by foreign investors, adding that a Desk Officer from the Ministry should be posted to NIPC’s One-Stop-Shop.
She further disclosed that the Commission would organise stakeholders’ forum on promoting investment in the agricultural sector, noting that the Ministry had critical role to play to ensure the success of the proposed forum which will hold soon.