The Lagos State Government says Nigeria spends $11bn (N3.1tn) annually to import wheat, rice, sugar and fish.
The government stated this on Wednesday at a capacity building workshop for heads of agriculture department in the 57 local government and local council development areas of the state in Ikeja.
At the event, organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olayiwole Onasanya, said Nigeria’s importation rate was worrisome.
Quoting from a Central Bank of Nigeria report, Onasanya said, “Over $11bn was spent to import four consumable commodities–rice, wheat, fish and sugar– annually. Nigeria’s food import is growing at an unsustainable rate of 11 per cent per annum.”
He said relying on importation of expensive food from global markets fuelled domestic inflation, adding that excessive imports had put pressure on the naira and hurt the economy.
Onasanya said, “The Lagos State Government has, however, taken the bull by the horns to boost food production at the grass roots. We are organising capacity building for LG workers to increase farm size and productivity.”
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Jafar Sanuth, observed that involvement of departments of agriculture at the LG level in food production had been minimal.
The Director, Community Agriculture, Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Dapo Olakulehin, said the aim of the workshop was to bring about diversification of the agricultural sector.