By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Prince Wale Oyekoya, Managing Director, Bama Farms Ltd, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to use his re-election as another opportunity to enhance Agricultural development and food security in the country.
Oyekoya made the call at a recent stakeholders’ meeting with members of the Food and Agriculture Writers Association of Nigeria (FAWON) in Lagos.
He urged the president to take urgent measures to restore Agriculture as a notable employer of labour, a major foreign exchange earner and the mainstay of the national economy.
According to him, Nigeria needs an agriculture minister that is proactive, who will address issues and be able to appreciate the challenges of the farmers and the masses.
“The president needs to get a vibrant technocrat to oversee the affairs of the agriculture sector, one who really knows about farming and its significance to overall national development.
“We need an Agriculture minister that is proactive and would address the real issues, one who would understand the feelings of both the farmers and the masses, and evolve innovations to develop the sector.
“Currently, agriculture provides about 35 per cent employment opportunities, whereas, the sector provided about 75 per cent in the past,” he said.
Oyekoya also pointed out that there should be people-oriented policies that will enhance local content and reduce importation of expired and substandard agricultural produce, especially fish.
He said that Nigerians should not be deceived that frying fish will kill the harmful chemicals used to preserve imported fish, because the chemicals were dangerous to man.
“Most of these imported fish were raised and they are not sea fish. They are mostly imported from the Asian countries and some harmful chemicals have been used to preserve them.
“These chemicals make them unhealthy for consumption and dangerous to human health. So, frying them does not help to make them become healthy.
“The chemicals do not make the fish digest quickly. This awareness should be a wake-up call for other regulatory agencies to take up the mantle and not leave everything to NAFDAC alone,” he said.
Oyekoya, who is also the immediate-past chairman of the Agriculture Trade Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said that 80 per cent of what Nigerians eat were imported.
He urged the Federal Government to control the influx of imported foods.