The World Bank has lamented Nigeria’s over dependence on oil and neglecting the agricultural sector where about 4 crops could fetch the country about $10 billion annually
The Senior Agriculture Economist, World Bank, Dr. Adetunji Oredipe, who disclosed this while delivering a keynote address at the Agriculture Summit Africa sponsored by Sterling Bank Plc, held in Abuja., said the neglect of the agriculture sector when Nigeria’s economy became increasingly dependent on oil has proved to be a disaster.
He noted that if Nigeria had explored the potentials of some value chains like palm oil, cocoa, groundnut and cotton, the country would be earning at least $10bn annually from the four commodities.
The World Bank representative further said that Nigeria is now one of the largest food importers in the world.
“In 2016 alone, Nigeria spent $965m on the importation of wheat, $39.7m to import rice and $100.2m on sugar importation”, he said.
He said spending $655m on fish importation appears like financial recklessness, considering the huge marine resources, rivers, lakes in Nigeria.
“None of the above transactions (importation of rice, fish, sugar) is fiscally, economically, or politically sustainable.
“Nigeria is tragically is living on borrowed time, a typical case of robbing Paul to pay Peter.
“For instance, each time we spend money to import rice, Nigerian local rice farmers are negatively affected in terms of morale, sales, and realizable income’, he noted.