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Food imports bill down to N1.5trillion - Adesina


The Federal Government said it has significantly reduced food imports bill which stood at a staggering N2.2283 trillion in 2011 to N1.5 trillion as at the end of last year.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina who disclosed this during a visit to the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) in Lagos, Thursday, said the government was able to save N906.6 billion.

He said the government is making effort to reduce the importation of foods as it supports local farmers to increase production in many areas, adding that the task at hand is for the country to continue to produce more of what is consumed.


Adesina said the agric sector is going to produce as it has never produced before because that is the only way the economy could achieve food security and create more jobs for Nigerians.

He said within the last two years, the agriculture sector has received $4 billion in foreign investment.
The investors include Cargill of the United States of America (USA) which is investing $20 million for cassava production in Kogi State.

The Director General, (FIIRO), Dr. Gloria Elemo, said availability of funds has limited the scope of the institute’s research and ability to deliver effectively. While noting that the nation needs the institute to achieve rapid industrialisation, she said FIIRO needs special intervention fund and support for commercialisation of over 250 research and development outputs developed.

She said since inception, FIIRO has developed technologies relevant for processing raw materials of relative advantage in the country.

She called on the National Assembly to pass into law a bill on compulsory inclusion of cassava flour in the making of bread and confectioneries for economic growth and development.
MrsElemo said the inclusion of cassava in bread production and confectioneries would boost employment, reduce importation of wheat and boost foreign exchange earnings.

According to her, diversification of cassava into new foods as an import substituted commodity has high potential benefits.

”If adopted, she said 20 per cent inclusion of cassava in bread and confectioneries would help in employment generation,” she said, adding that the institute is spearheading an effort to promote tomato production which will generate 200,000 jobs.

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