By Akeeb Alarape, Osogbo
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has canvassed for a ban on the export of primary farm produce as part of strategies to grow local productions and enhance the value chains of the countryâ€™s agricultural investments.Aregbesola stated that only innovative ventures in agriculture could make farm produce to be converted into secondary products, adding that Nigeria must create strategies that would make agriculture to be attractive to a new generation of young Nigerians before farming could be viable option towards economic diversification.
He spoke on Friday evening in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital at the annual conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editors.
â€œWe should stop exporting primary products and start adding value. The value of a kilogramme of exported cocoa beans increases 5,000 per cent by the time it comes back as chocolate,â€ the governor said.
Charging Nigerian agricultural scientists, technologists, nutritionists and other allied experts to be innovative, Aregbesola lamented that for ages, Nigerians have failed to improve the varieties of foods that are obtainable from their various farm produce.
â€œOur foods have remained the same from time immemorial. It is the same type of foods we derive from our crops in the past that we still do now. Nutritionists, food scientists and food technologists should find better uses for our crops.â€
He said Nigeriaâ€™s agriculture must be directed towards producing what the country needs and not what it can only export.
â€œThe orientation of our agriculture towards producing raw materials, especially cash crops, for the industries in Europe and the America must be reversed from producing what we donâ€™t use to producing what we use.
He pointed out that Nigeriaâ€™s agriculture products are non-competitive owing to low productivity addingÂ â€œWhile Nigeria and much of Africa are leading producers of cassava for instance, the traditional yield per hectare has been around 15 tonnes (Nigeria) and 10 tonnes (Africa) while global average in 2010 was put at 12.5 tonnes.â€
He went further, â€œHowever, Indiaâ€™s average yield in 2010 was 34.8 tonnes per hectares and Thailandâ€™s yield is reported to be a whopping 120 tonnes per hectare.â€