FG mulls foreign exchange ban for milk, tomato paste as farmers allege exclusion from national livestock policy.
Milk and tomato paste are to be added to the list of some 42 items banned from accessing foreign exchange at the official rate, according to the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The two officials made the pronouncement at the inauguration of a N2billion tomato factory in Kaduna.
Only last December, the apex bank added fertilizer to the long list, citing self-sufficiency.
The minister said: “ It is a matter of joy to see that we are approaching our target in self-sufficiency in many aspects of agriculture. We saw something in Kano and we are seeing another here.”
On his part, Emefiele, who asked dairy importers to emulate the move, stated that his organization had concluded plans to outlaw milk importation.
However, farmers have alleged their exclusion from the process leading to the birth of the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government.
The National Economic Council (NEC) recently approved the policy, but most livestock farmers and associations fear it could be subtle “cattle ranching.”
When contacted, president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Ibrahim Kabir, claimed that details of the plan were not at his disposal.
The response of the national president of the Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN), Rotimi Oloye, was not different.
The president of PAN, Ezekiel Ibrahim Mam, also claimed ignorance.
Contacted, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Kayode Oyeleye, said he was not familiar with details but promised to get back.
Efforts to reach the minister for remarks were futile, as he neither took his calls nor responded to a text message put to his mobile phone.