Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that the Federal Government was determined to use agriculture to tackle unemployment and grow the nation’s economy.
Osinbajo, represented by Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu, the Chief Economic Adviser to President Buhari, said this on Tuesday at the 2018 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES).
The theme of the conference is “Optimising value chain in the agricultural sector in Nigeria” and held in partnership with the African Development Bank.
Osinbajo said some of the economic focus of the administration included stabilising the macroeconomic environment, achieving food security, improving transportation infrastructure and driving industrialisation.
To achieve this, he recalled that the government set up the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Focus lab to unlock medium and large-scale investments projects.
“Agriculture is a priority of this administration as reflected in the ERGP.
“The reasons for prioritising Agriculture is because Agriculture is a source of income for small-scale farmers and job creation in larger farms.
“It is also a means to generate stable foreign exchange flows to support the manufacturing and service sectors while conserving foreign exchange that would otherwise be spent on importing food,” he said.
Also, the President, NES, Prof. Tamunopriye Agiobenebo, said the inability of the county to add value to its agricultural produce was a major cause of concern.
He said that if the government could harness the potentials of the agricultural sector, the huge level of poverty and unemployment in the country would be reduced.
“We are producing food in Nigeria but we are not making the best use of the resources we are deploying to the agriculture sector.
“We need to get more value from the resources we are deploying to the agricultural sector,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the highlight of the event was the Award of Fellowship to Professor Olu Ajakaiye a former President of NES, and Dr Joseph Nnanna, the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Central Bank of Nigeria.
Also, Prof. Milton Iyoha from the University of Benin was also made a fellow of the society.