FG targets 10% annual growth for agriculture, says Ogbeh

The Federal Government is targeting 10 per cent annual growth for the agricultural sector, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said.

Ogbeh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that the government was committed to addressing challenges facing the sector in order to meet the target.

The minister was reacting to a quarterly report released by the National Bureau of Statistics, which revealed that agriculture grew by 4.53 per cent in the second quarter of 2016.

NAN reports that the figure indicated 1.45 per cent increase over the growth recorded in the sector in the first quarter.

The statistics also showed that agriculture contributed 22.55 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) within the period.

“We are ‎encouraged that the National Bureau of Statistics sees what we are trying to do in spite of the‎ conflicts between farmers and herdsmen and the difficulties with fertilizer.

“We are aware that Nigerians are hungry and we do not have any time to lose because our business is to feed this country well so that we have a happier population.

“Our target is 10 per cent per annum or more; I assure you that the president, vice president and the National Assembly are all concerned about agriculture,” he said.

On scarcity of fertiliser, Ogbeh said that the government restricted the movement of the product because it discovered that Boko Haram was using it to make bombs.

He, however, gave the assurance that the government was working hard to address the problem.

According to him, a new soil map developed for the country has shown that the old applications of fertilisers are not helping yields.

He said the new application designed by the government had made a lot of difference and would lead to grain surplus.