Stakeholders in the agriculture sector on Tuesday declared support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to close the borders to boost local produce.
The stakeholders spoke at the opening of the Farm2Fork Dialogue organised by an agro- equipment firm, AgroAfrica, in collaboration with the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.
Mr Richard-Mark Mbaram, the Chief Executive Officer of AgroAfrica, said that a state of emergency should be declared on the production of foods for national consumption.
According to Mbaram, the president should be commended for taking a firm decision to close the borders, noting that China had also once closed its borders to boost industrialisation.
The Agro/Africa boss explained that the dialogue was convened to provide actionable outcomes that would give a headway to the development of the country.
He said that more than 60 per cent of national farm produces go to waste due to lack of value added system.
Mbaram expressed optimism that the dialogue would not be a talk shop, but a programme to provide solutions to the long standing problems in the sector on food deficit and waste.
In his goodwill message, Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Senior Special Adviser on Industrialisation to the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), said that Africa needed not to import food.
Oyelaran-Oyeyinka said that Africa also needed not to export raw materials nor suffer malnutrition because of the abundant opportunities on the continent.
Prof. Eustance Iyayi, Chairman, Nigeria Agriculture Observatory (NAO), said Nigeria could not achieve industrialisation without agricultural revolution.
According to Iyayi, there is the need for the country to look at areas of investment in the agriculture sector.
Also speaking, Mr Daniel Okafor, Vice President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, hailed the directive on border closure, saying it would encourage farmers to produce more for the country.