Nigeria can achieve national food security and earn about N5tn foreign exchange from agricultural exports as well as create massive employment with the adoption of commercial agriculture, the General Manager, Shonga Farm Holdings Limited, Mr. Adebayo Sangobiyi, has said.
In an interview with our correspondent in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Thursday, he said it was imperative to have a well-articulated and strategic agricultural master plan that should be strictly implemented to boost the nation’s agricultural transformation.
He canvassed the adoption of the Shonga Farm model as a national agricultural strategy, stating that such a measure could make Nigeria compare favourably with the United States and the United kingdom in agricultural production and exports.
He said Nigeria’s food import bill of N717bn as of December 2013, according to a former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, was not cheering.
Sangobiyi said, “If we face agriculture squarely, there will be industrialisation; with that, the economy will be transformed. Even at the national level, the Gross Domestic Product will improve and we will do less of importation.”
He stated that Shonga Farms had intensified its expansion programme with the aim of reducing the food import dependency of Nigeria.
He said the concept of the farm was for them to understudy the white farmers, adding that by the time they are big enough they should buy them.
According to him, that explains why there is the Shonga Phase 2 which is called Alapa project.
“Our intention is to start the Alapa project with the indigenes. I think Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has started it by selecting 10 farmers from each of the 16 local government areas of the state.