Lagos - Nigerians should handle agriculture as a money-spinning sector that generates job opportunities, according to Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Akinwumi Adesina.
Adesina made the appeal at the 11th Centre for Values in Leadership Annual Lecture at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Adesina said that for any country to generate more funds and eradicate poverty, its agriculture sector, especially in the rural areas must be transformed.
"Africa is the main continent for the enormous growth of agriculture. Eighty-five percent of the people who participate in agriculture are from the rural areas.
"The growth in Africa is mostly focused on oil which ought not to be, we need to transform agriculture in the rural areas.
"Africa is where the solution lies, we are the solution for feeding the world," he said.
The minister also urged Nigerians to change their consumption habit to products that are locally produced.
"We must change our consumption habit in this country to what we produce. I encourage Nigerians to eat cassava bread produced by us.
"We should learn to be a food exporting country, rather than importing food from others," he said.
Adesina said that there must be improvement in infrastructure, access to land for farmers and the need for Nigeria to learn from countries like Rwanda and Brazil.
"To eradicate poverty in Africa and in Nigeria, we must improve infrastructure; people, especially farmers, must have access to land. We should try and learn from countries like Rwanda.
The minister said that the ministry was working with the Ministry of Lands so as to allow people to have access to land.
"The zero-hunger programme in Brazil should also be adopted by Nigeria because they are able to reduce poverty from 22 per cent to seven per cent," he said.
He emphasised that Nigeria must become a food soldier country to ensure the eradication of poverty.
In his address of welcome, Prof. Pat Utomi, the founder, Centre for Values in Leadership, said that leaders must have both knowledge and a sense of service to deliver on their assignments.
Adesina and Utomi celebrated their birthdays with the eating of cassava cake at the event.
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