The Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) has rallied stakeholders in the agriculture sector to champion the need for a food security bill that would address Nigeria’s high level of rejection of non-oil exports.
The NACC has highlighted the need for the passage of the National Food Safety and Quality Bill 2019 by the National Assembly in its quest to protect the health of Nigerians while ensuring food security.
US Consulate Agricultural Affairs Counselor Mr. Gerald Smith, speaking at the NACC March Breakfast, said a major player like Nigeria could not do without a bill. on Food Safety, and called on all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to push for the implementation of the Food Safety Bill.
Smith said: “You can’t have an agribusiness without a food safety bill. The bill in the National Assembly awaiting implementation is a major constraint. We know it might not happen in this regime with the elections coming next year we are not going to have a food safety law come into play next year beyond that with the arrival of the next government , there is a need to collaborate and join forces so that Nigeria can have a food safety law in place.
He, however, said the United States government is working with soil farmers in Nigeria to improve their agronomic skills and best practices to increase soybean production in the country.
He said that given the level of soybean consumption in the country, there is an urgent need to increase its production.
According to him, there is a huge amount of soybeans that need to be produced in the country, but said importers who have the capacity to bring in soybeans especially from the United States for Nigerian farmers to have access to varieties improved are challenged by the unavailability of foreign exchange.
Smith said the United States is committed to being a reliable supplier of soybeans to the Nigerian economy to improve poultry production.
“However, the challenge is that importers wishing to import soybeans into the country face the unavailability of foreign exchange, which limits the efforts of importers to import these improved varieties,” he said.
Earlier, National Chairman of NACC, Mrs. Adebola Williams said that before the discovery of oil, Nigeria’s economy could be described as an agricultural economy, pointing out that the country was notable worldwide for its products. agricultural.
Williams said that despite the efforts of agricultural institutions, the country has yet to harness the full potential of its natural resources.
“Although Nigeria is the largest producer of yams, we still do not export enough to the world. The reason for this is that we are not growing the right species to meet international standards while yams from Ghana and the Republic of Benin are in great demand internationally. We must continue to exploit our resources and seek all the help we may need,” she said.
She added that one of the main imperatives of the chamber is to continuously engage all departments of the United States Mission in Nigeria on the business development of its members.