The Federal Government has decried the destruction of farm produce, livestock, and properties of traders in some parts of Nigeria, stating that the country is at risk of food scarcity.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Alhaji Sabo Nanono, made this known when he received members of the National Onion Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NOPPMAN) in Abuja last week.
Nanono explained that each section of the country needs the other, adding that many are unaware of the realities of coexistence.
The laws of the land, the minister pointed, allow every Nigerian to sojourn, reside, and earn a living in every part of the country he or she chose without hindrance.
According to a statement issued by his Technical Adviser on Media, Ahmed Aminu, Nanono cited an example of a particular Imo farmer residing in Kano who has an annual turnover of more than N200 million.
Nanono said, “I wonder how it would feel if we wake up one day and ask the gentleman, who has spent decades in rural Kano, to pack and go back to Imo State.
“Our fortunes as Nigerians are tied together and we must learn to tolerate and live with one another amicably for our collective socio-economic and political well-being,” he added.
The minister, however, condemned the recent attacks in Oyo, Aba, and Imo assuring that security issues are vigorously being tackled and there will be a positive outcome in near terms.
He assured the onion Association that his Ministry will support them with better preservation and drying equipment to enhance their business.
On his part, the National President of NOPPMAN, Aliyu Maitasamu Isa divulged that through formal and informal export trade, onion earns over seven million US Dollars for the country.
Onions are currently being exported to France, Japan, India, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Niger, and the Benin Republic, he added.
Isa lamented that exporters of onion incur losses in their dealings with Francophone countries who pay in CFA Franc which has to be converted to US Dollars and then to Naira.
He said that the CBN has not made provision for opening CFA Franc domiciliary accounts in Nigerian banks.
He, therefore, requested for the minister’s intervention, while also soliciting the support of the ministry to facilitate timely access to necessary farming inputs to minimize post-harvest losses.
Isa said that Nigeria only produces 1.4 million metric tons of the 2.5 million metric tons annual domestic demand for the commodity.
The losses, according to him, are caused by poor storage facilities and inadequate processing plants due to a lack of access to cheap credit facilities from commercial banks.
Boosting the potential onions in Nigeria will go a long way in reducing unemployment among the teeming youths and help attain food security, Isa stated.