Adetunji Oredipe, a Senior Agricultural Economist affiliated with the World Bank, has described the country's neglect of agriculture as a calamity and disaster.
He claims the continued neglect of the agriculture sector in Nigeria is costing the nation an astronomical loss of about $10 billion to its economy every year.
On Thursday, Oredipe spoke at the Sterling Bank Plc's agriculture summit in Abuja. He pointed out that Nigeria has not properly exploited Agriculture as her stronghold, lamenting the overwhelming reliance on petroleum as the major reason for the country's economic downtime.
He advised the Federal Government to diversify the country's economic base by investing in the development of the country's agricultural sector, instead of focusing all its attention on the revenue from crude oil exports.
"If Nigeria had held to its market share in palm oil, cocoa, groundnut and cotton, its earnings from these commodities would today build up to at least $10 billion per year," he said.
The specialist elaborated that Nigeria has a comparative advantage in the agricultural sector but chose to continually neglect the need for diversified economy. Oredipe admitted that this has made Nigeria one of the largest food importers in the world, which is exhausting the country’s coffers.