The prices of food in the country would be significantly reduced with efficient use of the railway system, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono has said.
According to Nanono, the rise in food prices in the country was due to high transportation costs, citing effective maintenance of the railway system as a solution to the issue.
In his words, “Had it been we managed to maintain our railway system and kept it in good shape, the food price regime in the country would have been better.
“No country as big as Nigeria with huge agricultural potential would do without a good railway system,” Nanono stated.
Nanono, in a Newsnight interview with Channels on Wednesday, stated that the agricultural sector in Nigeria grew by 3.3 percent despite the rising food insecurity in the country.
However, he also noted the crash of the naira as a major catalyst in the food price hike which makes it cheaper for neighbouring countries to buy Nigerian produce and resell it for higher in their countries which in turn affects Nigerian food prices.
On the issue of food preservation in the country, Nanono explained that the establishment of processing lines especially for vegetables like tomatoes was very important, adding that the private sector with the likes of Dangote is contributing positively to the sector.
He said that the closing of the land borders boosted local rice production which led to farmers being given incentives to grow more rice, adding that the rice mills are fully operational and productive.
Nanono also noted that the textile industry had good potential in the agriculture sector, citing it as a great source of employment and integration of the economy.
“If you want to develop as a country, you have to develop a strong synergy between the agricultural and industrial sector. If at all we want to get a large population of the youths gainfully employed, we have to bring back the agro-allied industries especially textiles,” he said.
On the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), the minister disclosed that 200 thousand hectares of grazing reserve were being developed in Gombe. In addition, he said, ranches were being set up in Nasarawa, Plateau, Adamawa, and Kaduna.