Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina
The Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) has protested the action of the House of Representatives to stop the use of cassava in all flour products, giving the National Assembly 30 days ultimatum to legislate on cassava as compulsory ingredient in all flour products in the country.
Leading the protest to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the National Assembly in the nation’s capital, the NCGA president, Chief Segun Adewumi, described that attempt to stall the legislation as anti-people.
Adewumi said the action of the legislators came as a surprise to the association, and added that it was not in the nation’s interest as it would affect the present administration’s effort to develop the economy and reduce poverty through local industries.
According to him, “Cassava is one of the crops that can industrialise Nigeria and there is the need to transform Nigeria from oil dependent to cassava dependent.”
The farmers’ leader advised that the National Assembly should listen to the opinions of stakeholders to understand the role of cassava in food before discarding the bill.
Also speaking, the National Publicity Secretary of Agbekoya Farmers Association of Nigeria, Chief Bamidele Olatunji, urged the National Assembly not to make decisions that would be detrimental to the growth of the nation.
Olatunji appealed for 15 per cent of the national budget for the agricultural sector to enhance food security in the country, saying that “food security is national security”.
The president, Nigeria Cassava Processors and Marketers Association (NICPMA), Mr. Ayo Olubori, who spoke through Mr. Femi Salami, said “cassava is one of the crops that can be used to industrialise Nigeria and create jobs for the youths.
“To tackle youth restiveness in our country, agriculture is the only profession that can be used to engage them. Another way is for the government to stop the importation of foods into this country and encourage local industries to grow”, he said.
Speaking in the same vein, Eze Phillip Ajomiwe, said many jobs could be created through the cassava Value Chain programme, and called for the support of all tiers of government for farmers in the country to contribute further to the growth of the economy.
Responding, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, assured the farmers that the National Assembly would not make any decision that would derail the agricultural transformation agenda.
He told the farmers that the minister, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, had said the decision to stall the legislation was uncalled for and appealed to the farmers to conduct themselves in an orderly manner.
The permanent secretary assured them that all stakeholders would be carried along on ways to turn around the sector.
Source – Thisday