Agric minister condemns movement of agric institutes to education
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has condemned the movement of the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike and two others under the ministry of Agriculture to the Education ministry without any amendment in the Act establishing them.
The Minister expressed his displeasure over the movement during an interactive session he had with members of the House Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday, 2nd December, 2015, at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
Chief Ogbeh said the lawmakers are major players in the agricultural sector and needed to make appropriate laws to curb all the nefarious and unwholesome practices in the agricultural sector. He described the smuggling of 300 trailers of rice through the Seme boarder as unacceptable and called for strong measures to tackle the menace.
The Minister said, “If we carry on like this for the next five months, the economy of Nigeria would collapse”. He therefore solicited the support of the lawmakers in protecting the citizens.
Chief Ogbeh expressed his desire to deal with import substitution in which he said 15 billion USD could be saved. He said Nigeria has the capacity to export rice and wheat to West Africa, hence the need to develop the small scale industries to create jobs for the rural poor and develop the cotton industry.
The Minister promised to revive the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), provide a more nutritional school feeding programme and revive the river basins in partnership with the Ministry of Water Resources, while also assuring the committee of his readiness to take agriculture to where it should be.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno, said the meeting became imperative to enable the committee and the ministry interact and identify ways and means of moving the agricultural sector forward.
Hon. Monguno explained that agriculture could create employment opportunities for the people if well tapped and help Nigeria’s diversification process.
He pledged the readiness of the committee to support the ministry in achieving its mandate in the agricultural sector.