VON DG, Okechukwu says food export will help Nigeria repay Chinese loan

Osita Okechukwu, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria, VON, has declared that the Federal Government’s agricultural policies were capable of providing a source for repayment of the country’s foreign debt.

Okechuwku, who is also a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC made the remarks while speaking to APC youths in Enugu during the weekend.

VON DG urged the youths to join Buhari’s Agrarian Revolution for food security and food exports to China, USA, Saudi Arabia, etc.

“It’s high time our youths join the Buhari’s Agrarian Revolution (#BUGREV) for food security and food exports. Methinks Nigeria can repay the Chinese loans with food exports. China imports food in billions of dollars annually.

“BUGREV is the risorgimento for food security and food export to China, United States, Saudi Arabia and host of other countries. It is painful that our youths are not engaging sufficiently in agriculture, especially the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), an arm of Buhari’s Agrarian Revolution devoted to young farmers, women farmers and poor subsistence farmers,” he said.

While explaining how it would be possible to pay huge loans from China with food exports, especially when insecurity is affecting farming, Okechukwu emphatically said “insecurity cannot continue indefinitely; more so, when Mr President had emphatically ordered the arrest of those Herdsmen bearing arms without Licence. And don’t forget that many states are quietly curbing Farmers/Herdsmen clashes. In Enugu for instance we have Forest Guards and in the South West we have Amotekun.”

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He further narrated how improved agricultural production will boost rail haulage on the domestic side, adding that food export to China will definitely balance the country’s trade deficit with China.

On the question of how viable it would be to export food to China, US and other countries, Okechukwu answered that “China’s total food imports amounted to 58.28 billion dollars last year, up 25 percent year-on-year, while the annual average growth rate over the previous five years was 5.7 percent, data from the administration showed.

“The European Union remained China’s largest supplier of food, followed by the United States, New Zealand, Indonesia and Canada. Meat, oil, dairy, and seafood were among the most popular food imports in China.”

He added that study by Chen Weinian, purchasing director at Shanghai’s City Shop, posited that foreign food used to be consumed mainly by foreign expatriates and were now being favored by a lot more Chinese.

Okechukwu maintained that “with vigour and dedication we can have a big cut from the over $50 billion dollars China uses for food imports.

“Is it not embarrassing that advanced countries like Europe and the United States have more food to export than agrarian countries like Nigeria? Yet every crop and every livestock on earth is adaptable to one square meter or the other square meter in Nigeria.

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“It is the same with the US which some years ago enacted AGOA for countries like Nigeria. And we have been unable to exploit it because of our over dependence on oil.”

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