Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said that next year’s budget would focus on the development of agro-industries across the country.
The Minister disclosed that the Federal Government would lay strong emphasis on the sector because it believes that only proper harnessing of the agriculture and solid minerals sectors would save the country from what he called “this disaster we are in.”
Ogbeh, who spoke during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on oil research and development between the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) and PZ Wilmar in Abuja at the weekend, noted that there was urgent need to create jobs for over 80 million unemployed Nigerian youths.
He explained that the government might in the coming year, deploy loans from the World Bank and others for the importation of machinery that would add value to agricultural produce and boost the agro-industries, stressing that even rural women would be empowered with micro-agro processing equipment.
The Minister commended PZ Wilmar for investing in research and providing home-grown solution to the nation’s food security challenge.
Ogbeh said he would visit NIFOR in Benin City, Edo State, in October to see things for himself.
“We are proud of groups like you that are doing things to help the country. Nigeria got into trouble by its omissions. You’re the true patriots that Nigeria seeks. “There is no fooling around in this matter; Nigeria has to come out of it. We thank God that results are coming in and soon, we will get it (right),” he stated.
Speaking earlier, Chairman of the company, Chief Kola Jamodu, described the partnership as a great achievement and expressed the optimism that by working together, the industry would be properly built.
The Ministry of Budget and National Planning recently said that it has commenced work on the 2017 budget proposal for possible presentation to the National Assembly by October to avoid the controversy of late budget passage as was experienced in the 2016 budget.