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May 10, 2024
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Otti decries Nigeria’s N7.8 trillion food import bill

Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, delivered a compelling argument for the widespread establishment of agricultural ventures across Nigeria as a critical solution to combatting food insecurity. His remarks came against the backdrop of staggering figures revealing that the Nigerian government had expended a staggering N7.8 trillion on food imports over the preceding six years.

Speaking passionately during a capacity-building training session for the inaugural cohort of 300 candidates undergoing agricultural training at CSS Global Integrated Farm in Nassarawa State, Otti emphasized the imperative for all citizens to embrace agriculture for self-sufficiency. He underscored not only the significance of agriculture in ensuring food security but also its pivotal role in mitigating unemployment and fostering socio-economic stability.

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With Nigeria blessed with vast tracts of arable land, Otti lamented the paradox of the nation being burdened with exorbitant import bills. He urged for a paradigm shift and emphasized the urgency for stakeholders to address this pressing issue with seriousness.

Otti articulated, “It is a shame that a country of over 200 million people, endowed with extensive arable land and renowned as one of the largest producers and cultivators of food items, expends such colossal sums on food imports.”

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He delved into the alarming statistics, revealing that the country had allocated approximately N1.9 trillion towards food imports in 2021 alone, with similar hefty amounts expended in the preceding years. Against the backdrop of a national budget hovering around N28 trillion for 2024, Otti highlighted the stark reality that over 11% of the budget was earmarked for importing food, a figure that had ballooned significantly compared to previous years.

The governor seized the occasion of the two-week agricultural training program to impress upon the participants the critical importance of enhancing local food production. He urged the trainees to become exemplary ambassadors of the state and encouraged them to seize the opportunity to equip themselves with the requisite knowledge and skills to spearhead agricultural transformation within their communities.

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Otti reassured the participants of unwavering support from the state government, pledging to cover all expenses associated with their agricultural training from inception to completion. His commitment underscored the state’s dedication to empowering its citizens and driving sustainable agricultural development as a catalyst for national progress.

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