The Federal government has stated that 10 million jobs will be created in the agricultural sector within 12 months through the Nigeria Economic and Sustainability Plan (NESP).
This was made known in a statement signed by the Agric Ministry’s spokesperson, Theodore Ogaziechi on Thursday, July 23.
Speaking during the official launch of the Agriculture for food and job plan (AFJP) in Funtua, Katsina State on Thursday,the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono said the project would mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy and livelihoods of farmers by creating more access to food for and the rapid emergence of a competitive food production, processing and distribution in Nigeria.
Daily Times reports that the food and job plan AFJP) which is a major take-off for the agriculture component of the Nigeria Economic and Sustainability Plan (NESP) targeted at smallholder farmers, was set up by President Buhari and chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibanjo to fashion out a plan on COVID -19 intervention.
Nanono said that one of the strategies adopted by the Committee is the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan (AFJP), adding that the Programme will aid the transformation of the Nigerian agriculture from its largely low yielding and subsistent state to a high yielding technology based farming system.
Speaking further, he said that the strategies would generate appropriate welfare gains consistent with the Federal Government’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) and Green Alternative strategies.
The Minister said that the plan, “is also in tandem with the three pronged action plan of the Ministry to deal with the impact of the pandemic on Nigerian agriculture and farmers’’.
Nanono explained that these measures include, among others, the life-saving humanitarian assistance to vulnerable households to buffer the impact of COVID-19, such as the release of about 100,000 metric tons of assorted food commodities from the National Food Reserve to several groups and communities.
The Minister highlighted the deliverables of the AFJP as contained in the NESP in 12 months: ” creation of between 5- 10 million jobs in the agric sector, produce about 10,000,000 MT of food ,cultivate between 20,000 – 100,000 hectares of land per State based on land availability to an aggregate of 2.4 million farmers tied to farmlands, input financing loan to farmers will be zero interest, land clearing and preparation support, among others “.
Nanono stated that the symbolic launch represents over 1,100,000 smallholder farmer beneficiaries in 36 states and the FCT on the Batch A list under 6 partners namely AFEX, BabanGona, Value Seeds, Universal, Thrive Agric and Oxfam. We will soon be announcing Batch B beneficiaries”, he averred.
He lauded the continuous support of OCP AFRICA Fertilizer Limited for its initiative “”in the provision of soil testing equipment and supply of 20 units of OCP branded Motorcycles, Android Tablets and safety of kits to support the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development meant to support Extension Services”.
In his Goodwill message, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, stressed that the Agric sector is the bedrock of the economy and appreciated the efforts of the Federal Government under the Leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for his visionary policies in the Agric sector. .