The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, announced that his ministry had reclaimed all universities of Agriculture in the country from the National Universities Commission, as it strives to enhance the efficient production of food as well as meet the target of food sufficiency by 2018.
The minister stated these while playing host to the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Willie Obiano, in Abuja.
Ogbeh, in a statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday, assured Nigerians that the food shortage problems in the country would soon be over.
On measures to achieve this, he said the ministry was willing to help state governments to ensure that the target was met, adding that one of the specific areas of assistance to Anambra State was in fish fingerling production as well as in other aspects of agriculture that would help in boosting food production across the country.
The minister explained that the ministry was considering the need to add 10 per cent soya beans to cassava to enrich it with more protein and increase its nourishment for children.
He added that about 15,000 broken down tractors, out of the 30,000 available in the country, would be rehabilitated to support farmers, as the government works hard to meet the 2018 food sufficiency target.
Ogbeh commended the commitment of Obiano in the agricultural sector and promised to support the state in the ministry’s programmes.
The minister advised the visiting team on the use of NPK 15-15 fertilizer, which, according to him, destroys the soil.
He further encouraged the state to consider the use of lemon grass to tackle erosion problems in Anambra, and lauded the state government for improving its rice production capacity from 80,000 metric tonnes to 210,000 metric tonnes.
While explaining that the ministry had succeeded in reclaiming all the universities of Agriculture, Ogbeh said the FMARD had also commenced the process of training 100,000 agricultural extension workers up to the local government areas.
He said the government was determined to take off all wandering cows from the streets, adding that this would be achieved in 18 months.
Obiano, in his remarks, said Anambra State spent about N150m last year to boost seedlings and that it had commenced the exportation of edible vegetable leaves to the United Kingdom.
According to him, about N20m was used for the training of farmers on packaging of produce for exportation.