The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri has urged the people of the Niger Delta region to embrace peace and take advantage of the potentials inherent in Agriculture towards generating wealth and promoting economic development.
Vanguard Newspaper reports that Heineken made this statement during the 20th anniversary of Nigerian Agip Oil Company’ Green River Project Farmers Day held at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.
According to the Minister, “I appeal to the people of the Niger Delta region to embrace peace and focus on agriculture, stop the destruction of oil and gas pipelines, which only served to destroy the country’s ecosystem and economy”.
Lokpobiri said Nigeria spent an average of $22billion annually on wheat, rice, sugar and fish imports.
While there was an abundance of land available for cultivation to meet the demand of about 170 million consumers in the Nigerian domestic market and the entire West Africa sub region, Nigeria only utilized 10 per cent of the estimated 84 million hectares of arable land, he noted.
He however expressed that the Federal Government was focused on redirecting attention to agriculture in its totality while empowering Nigerians in a productive and sustainable manner, adding that the process which entailed treating agriculture as a business to create wealth and provide employment, will transform Nigeria into a self – sufficient nation, with surplus for export to earn foreign exchange.