Saturday, December 20, 2014

Agriculture will Become Nigeria’s New Oil – Adesina Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has declared that agriculture will become the new oil boom for Nigeria.
The minister's declaration was corroborated by President Goodluck Jonathan who said the falling price of crude oil did not come to the federal government as a surprise, as his administration was already prepared for it through the agric sector.

Speaking when he launched the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) and the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the minister said agriculture was Nigeria's first love where the country's greater future lied in. He said, "Therefore, let me welcome you to the new agriculture space of Nigeria. As the price of crude oil plummets, I am convinced that the new currency for Nigeria will be agriculture, not just oil and gas.

"Agriculture will become Nigeria's new oil. For agriculture was Nigeria's past and in agriculture as a business lies Nigeria's greater future for inclusive growth. Now Mr. President, please sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

"Meet and hear the voices of your nagropreneurs! Today you are in a green bow tie: you are so cool Mr. President. And agriculture is cool!" Akinwumi noted that YEAP was targeted at 740,000 market-oriented young agricultural producers in rural areas.

He said the target beneficiaries would be school leavers and young rural farmers comprising 20,000 per state of the federation. He explained that under YEAP, 18,000 university graduates would be turned into agropreneurs and agribusiness leaders along area-based priority agricultural value chain, even as he said Nigeria was the first country in the world to develop and use e-wallet to deliver farm input.

"Food production has risen massively and as a nation we have produced
an additional 21 million MT of food within the last 3 years.
"According to the National Bureau of Statistics, food imports declined
from N 1.1 trillion ($ 6.7 billion) in 2009 to N 684 billion ($4.35
billion) in 2013 and continues to decline.

Oil price fall did not take Us By surprise – Jonathan
In his speech, President said his administration saw the oil crisis
coming, which was why the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) was
launched three years ago with a view to diversifying the country's
revenue base.
Jonathan explained that the initial goal of the ATA when it was
launched in 2011 was to add an extra 20 million metric tonnes of food
to the country's domestic food supply by 2015.

He said the government's massive food production efforts under the ATA
rather yielded 21 million metric tonnes of food which created a buffer
to mitigate the impact of the oil price volatility on the economy.
The president added that at the moment, the target had been surpassed
with the production of an additional 1 million metric tonnes by local
farmers, resulting in the creation of three million farm jobs within
the period.

Credit: Leadership Newspapers

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