“Udoji Bonus” of 1970s Cause of Over-Dependence on Food Importation – Ogbeh
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said Nigeria spent a total of $20 billion on food importation on yearly basis, attributing it to the Udoji programme of 1970s.
Ogbeh, who made the disclosure at the closing of the 41st National Council on Agriculture held at Kano Government House last week, expressed worry over the over-dependence of Nigerians on foreign food.
According to him, many things were responsible for the downturn in the agricultural sector in the country; saying that programmes like Udoji of the1970s was responsible for some of the tragedies facing the agricultural sector in the
country. He said that, “It was Udoji programme that made people run away from farms and pursued to become contractors.”
Condemning what he described as ‘elite arrogance’ in the nation’s agricultural sector, Ogbeh assured farmers across the country of his ministry’s arrangement to work hand-in-hand with them in the formulation of policies affecting agricultural development in the country.
He called on commissioners of agriculture from the 36 states of the federation, who attended the conference, to put more pressure on their governors to
ensure that modern ways of agricultural development were employed in their various states.
He noted that irrigation should be looked into as a way to address problems associated with cattle rearing, even as the minister said that the simple solution to cattle rearing was to grow grass and feed cattle. “We should not depend on using improved grass from Brazil, Argentina and other places. I am also advising all on engaging in cattle rearing modern mechanism.”
The governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, assured all farmers in the state that his administration would do everything possible to help develop agricultural sector for both local and foreign advantages.