Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment said the Federal Government would establish an agro-allied industry in each senatorial district in the country.
Katagum said this during a meeting with a delegation from the Amana Farmers and Grains Suppliers Association of Nigeria (AFGSAN). Katagum in a statement signed by Mrs Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, Assistant Director, Press, of the Ministry on Wednesday in Abuja, said the industry would boost government effort to sustain food security and economic growth.
The minister said that government was very much interested in growing the economy, looking at other areas like cotton, textile, garment, grains and tomatoes, which it needed to add value. “President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that in every senatorial district, agro-allied industry should be established.
“We know some industries exist but you can assist us in identifying the agro allied industries that will be suited for you,” she said. The minister said that border closure was a lesson and blessing to the country, adding that it showed that “we could produce what we needed to eat and even export’’. “My appeal is that there are critical lessons we learnt, let us not go back, let us continue with farming even if we find oil in any part of the country,’’ he added.
She informed the delegation that value addition and certification of the food produce were very germane to generate additional revenue as well as meet with international standard for export. She emphasised the need for the association to register with Nigeria Export Processing Council (NEPC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Commodity and Export Department in the ministry and other relevant agencies for technical assistance.
The AFGSAN Chairman, Haruna Pambeguwa, who led the delegation, said they were in the ministry to congratulate the minister on her well-deserved appointment and to seek support to compete globally with their products. The chairman said the association had national spread in 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, with massive investments in agro- allied business in various agricultural produce.
“We have those who can export their commodities, we are seeking for your support and license so that we can compete globally,” he said. He commended the president on his good leadership style, saying that the ban on importation of rice had provided food security and created more jobs for the youths.
“Because of his style of leadership in Nigeria, we are fully satisfied with good policy on ban on imports. We don’t want any import, we want to export our products,’’ he said. Mr Napoleon Abalaka, the Director of Commodity and Export Department in the Ministry, said the ministry had embarked on Global Gap Training (GGT) three to four years ago as a result of ban in some of the Nigeria’s food produce.
Abalaka said that the Global Gap Certification Firm, an international capacity building body was to train and certify everyday commodity that was being exported. He promised that the association would be considered by the ministry in training its members.