The Federal Government spent a whopping sum of $1.68 billion on food importation between January and September in 2021.
This was contained in a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) report on sectoral utilization of foreign exchange for the third quarter of last year.
According to the apex bank report, the government spent $163.60million, $197.73million, and $171.05m in January, February, and March, The report also revealed that $184.69million, 188.88m, and 271.59million were spent in July, August, and September last year.
During the Bankers’ Committee retreat in Lagos recently, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said Nigeria could produce enough to feed itself.
He said the Federal Government is determined on the diversification of the economy and adequate food production.
“We need to get to a stage where we bring our manufacturing industries back to life again. For us to say that there is sustainable, inclusive growth in the country, we, as banks, working with the government must do everything possible to diversify the economy.
“We have to do everything possible to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country. We will do everything possible to reduce the rate of poverty in our country.”
In a related development, a member of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Segun Agbato lamented the neglect of rice farmers by the government. He decried the lack of necessary equipment for rice farming which has made rice production very cumbersome.
According to him, rice farmers’ major constraint is a lack of support from the government because we cannot do it alone. “We need modern equipment to plant and harvest our rice. We also need tractors because we are now talking about commercialization of agriculture, not peasant farming but one of the challenges is that you hardly see the necessary support from the government. Therefore, we need the support of the government and the CBN to produce more,” he said.