- NBS reported that four million Nigerians lost their jobs in 2017 alone
- Audu Ogbeh spoke against the report
- The Agriculture Minister claimed his ministry alone created more jobs than the country lost
- Ogbeh said six million jobs were created in 2017
- He claimed Hibiscus earned the nation’s farmers about $35 million in 2017
- He also claimed rice importation has been reduced by 95 per cent
- Bukar Hassan said Nigeria would export fertiliser to Europe next month
Ogbeh critcized the report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that four million jobs were lost last year, saying over six million jobs were created in the agriculture sector.
The Hibiscus, also known as Zobo, earned the nation’s farmers about $35 million last year as demand continued to increase, he said.
According to him, our agriculture is heavily manual and to be able to reduce rice importation by 95 per cent, at least six million extra jobs have happened in the farm.
“There are about 12.2 million members of the Rice Growers Association; we have created more jobs than we have lost,’’ he said.
“We are exporting more than we are importing now and most exportation is agro-products.
“We are growing in agriculture and from the middle of this year, whoever chooses to eat Thailand rice is welcomed to pay duties.
“We shall impose duties on it because we consider it a wasteful luxury and something this country can’t afford,’’ he said.
Ogbeh said the Federal Government would also engage in establishing both cashew and cocoa plantations to boost production and export in 2018.
He spoke of plans to make the country a leading producer of cashew nuts.
The minister said that fertiliser blending would also be improved to accommodate micro nutrients in the product.
Ogbeh said the government would work to ensure quality control of produce both for export and local consumption.
According to the minister, the sector will this year focus on new plantations for cashew nuts, relaunch cocoa that will move the country up from number seven to number one in the next five years and improve fertiliser blending, which micro nutrients will be included.
Permanent Secretary Dr. Bukar Hassan, said Nigeria would export organic fertiliser to Europe next month.
The Synergos Country Representative, Adewale Ajadi, called on directors and political advisers in the ministry to synergise and work assiduously.
Ajadi urged the federal, states and local governments to work together.