The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, has assured Nigerians of government’s efforts to achieve a sustainable access, availability and affordable quality food for all and make the country a net provider of food to the global community.
Chief Ogbe also said that the country would be involved in raw materials development to meet the needs of the expanding industrial sector.
The Minister stated this during a press conference in his office in Abuja on Thursday to mark the World Food Day, 2017 celebration.
He highlighted the achievements of the Ministry along with the sub-sector activities and the road map for the various initiatives embarked upon by President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
Ogbe said; “Let me inform you that our primary focus in the agriculture sector is to ensure a virile foundation and certified seed generation system, establish commodity market corporations, reinforce the National grazing reserves program fund extension service at all levels, resuscitate the existing agriculture development projects and re-position the existing agro-processing facilities in the country”.
To achieve these feet and to unlock the full potential of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, Chief Ogbe said that the 2016-2020 “Green Alternative” Agricultural promotion Policy (APP) was articulated to achieve self sufficiency and sustainable food security, reduce import dependence, stimulate agro-exports, enhance wealth and diversify the economy.
He said: “The Ministry’s policy direction is to strengthen extension services, aid impute delivery support, promote value addition and market access, ensure land development and soil fertility management, provide supportive infrastructure, mainstream youth and gender productivity windows that will facilitate credits to agricultural enterprises.
“So far, we have provided 25% input subsidy contribution to 6.5 Million farmers under the growth enhancement support schemes for private managed fertilizer supply for wet season and dry season farming across the various commodity value chains.
“We have also facilitated foundation and certified seed production for staple crops like maize, rice, Sorghum, millet, wheat, Cow-pea, Soya bean, groundnut, cotton and sesame that enhanced the usage of quality seed that boosted revenue generation in the country; keyed into anchor borrowers scheme, strengthened Aflatoxin detection capacity with the purchase of a set of laboratory equipments to established institutions, developed soil fertility map and site, crop specific fertilizer formulation for the 36 states of the federation, established fish farm clusters, established national Aquaculture
Certification Center nationwide and securing of 55, 000 hectares from11 states as part of the 5, 000 hectares each expected from the 19 Northern states for the development of pasture and paddocks grazing reserve”.
The Minister said to ensure self- sufficiency in rice production, the Ministry flagged off the distribution of 500 threshers to rice farmers from 12 rice-producing states of the federation.
“The Ministry flagged off the distribution of 500 threshers to rice farmers from 12 rice-producing states of Ebonyi, Enugu, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa , kano, Kaduna, Niger, Kogi, Benue and Taraba at 60% discount to farmers who would pay 20% while the states government bare 20% of the cost; and established FGN-BOI funded 68% cottage crops processing mills under Private Partnership Program (PPP) arrangement.
“The Ministry also facilitated the establishment of 12 Large Scale rice processing mills as part of the targeted 40 (30,000MT scale) under the China EXIM Bank worth $325.67million facility. We have also aided the completion of 2.5 tons of paddy and 1.8 tons milled rice per hour in Baeggi, Niger state at the cost of $1.8 million under the Korean-African food and agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI) program,” Ogbe added..
Tom Okpe, Abuja