Stage Set For Implementing The Greatest Agric Revolution In Nigerian History – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.
A file photo of Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says that the stage is set for the greatest agricultural revolution in Nigerian history.

Alhaji Mohammed disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.

Mr Mohammed said the revolution would be brought to fruition through a programme called ” The Green Imperative”.

According to the minister the initiative is a Nigeria-Brazil Bilateral Agriculture Development Programme, one which dates back to the 6th of June 2016.

He said that amongst other things, the initiative will reactivate six motor assembly plants in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for assembling tractors and other implements.

Adding that the programme will also import the Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts of about 5,000 tractors and numerous implements (for local assembly) annually for a period of 10 years.

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Below is the full speech as rendered by the minister in Abuja.

Good afternoon gentlemen, and thank you for honouring our invitation
once again. While briefing you last Friday on the 1st anniversary,
second term of the Buhari Administration, I hinted at the agricultural
revolution that the Administration is about to embark upon, and I said
that the Hon. Minister of Agriculture and I will be providing details.
Well, we are here to do just that today.

2. The Buhari Administration is set to revolutionize agriculture in
Nigeria through a programme called ‘THE GREEN IMPERATIVE, a
Nigeria-Brazil Bilateral Agriculture Development Programme. It is the
outcome of Nigeria’s decision, dating back to 6 June 2016, to enrol in
Brazil’s Government-to-Government More Food International Programme
(MFIP). Following that decision, and between June 2016 and December
2019, several high level Ministerial and technical visits and
exchanges have occurred between the two countries. During one of such
visits, the Bilateral Protocol of Intention with the Government of
Brazil was signed in March 2017.

3. Gentlemen, His Excellency the Vice President of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria launched THE GREEN IMPERATIVE programme officially
on 17 January 2019 in the presence of the representatives of the
Federative Republic of Brazil, Deutsche Bank as well as Brazilian and
Nigerian private sector. The Programme, worth US$1.2 billion, is to be
implemented over a period of 5-10 years with funding from the
Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) and Deutsche Bank; with insurance
provided by Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency (ABGF)
and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit (ICIEC) of
the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and coordinated by Getúlio Vargas
Foundation (FGV).

4. Now, how will this programme revolutionize agriculture in
Nigeria, you may ask. The GREEN IMPERATIVE programme will lead to the
following:

– Reactivation of six motor assembly plants in the
six-geopolitical zones of the country for assemblying tractors and other implements. The programme will import the
Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts of about 5,000 tractors and
numerous implements (for local assembly) annually for a period of 10
years.
– Establishment of 142 agro processing service centres for value
addition, with one centre in each Senatorial District.
– Establishment of 632 mechanization service centres to support
primary production in the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal
Capital Territory. This will create 774 service centers nationwide to
mechanize our farming methods and process or add value to farm produce
locally, leading to efficiency and eliminating post-harvest losses,
thereby cutting down cost of food all year round
– Private sector operators will operate and manage all the service
centres and the assembly plants.
– The programme will create about 5 million jobs and inject over
US$10 billion into the economy within 10 years.
– It will create sustainable supply chain of agricultural raw
materials for our large manufacturing companies to source locally,
thereby saving billions of US Dollars in food-related forex
– It will train about 100,000 extension workers within 3 years.
– It will impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically,
– It will revitalize our Research and Extension service delivery
through a 5-year technology-package transfer component
– The programme;s benefits also include the transfer of technology
from Brazil’s manufacturers and institutions to Nigeria

5. Gentlemen, let me now give you some highlights in the evolution
of the GREEN IMPERATIVE programme:

– The programme design was jointly done by Nigeria and Brazil. The
Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development set up a
High-Level Inter-Ministerial Committee for the bilateral programme
design.
– In the course of the programme design, the Brazilian technical
mission visited Nigeria and met with rural small-holder farmers.
– The Nigerian technical team also embarked on a study tour of three
African countries (Ghana, Kenya and Senegal) where MFIP is being
implemented to study their challenges as well as their successes or
failures
– The Nigerian technical team has also visited the selected assembly
plants in the six geopolitical zones to determine in-country capacity
to handle the assembly of a CKD-based programme of this magnitude.

6. Since 2015, the Buhari Administration has been working hard to
bring about irreversible change in many sectors and to diversify the
economy away from oil. The many unprecedented programmes embarked upon
by the Administration have touched the power sector, where timelines
have been given for ending the age-long power supply problem; food
security, especially production of rice, a national staple, through
the Anchor Borrower’s Programme; the unique Social Intervention
Programme (SIP); the unprecedented infrastructural renewal project
covering roads, bridges, rail, etc; the pepped-up fight against
corruption; the innovative programmes to create jobs and the
unrelenting fight against insecurity, among others.

7. The stage is now set for an agricultural revolution that will
strengthen food security, create massive jobs, transfer technology,
revive or reinvigorate many assembly plants, strengthen the economy,
save scarce resources, mechanize farming and lead to the emergence of
value-added agriculture, among other benefits.

8. The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development will
now make some comments on this programme, after which we will take
questions. Please note that only questions related to THE GREEN
IMPERATIVE programme will be entertained

9. I thank you for your kind attention.

FIIRO Calls For Transformation Of Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector

 

The Acting Director-General of Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Dr. Chima Igwe has called for a transformation of the Agricultural sector in Nigeria.

Igwe stated this in Lagos, adding that the transformation of the sector is needed to serve as an agent of economic recovery and growth.

“In the past few years, Nigeria and Nigerians experienced a sudden and significant drop in economic activities which led to the loss of the purchasing power of our currency, the Naira. Although Nigeria has been able to exit the recession, the strangling effects might still be seen lingering with the possibility of relapse if the nation does not diversify.

“Upgrading and improving the agro-allied production and production processes, mining and other relevant manufacturing sectors, upgrading and improving the existing traditional and local technologies, making new discoveries and innovations through research and products and services development in all sectors of the economy,” Dr. Chima said.

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Similarly, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Dera Nnadi, who represented the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) said Nigerians need to produce what they eat to grow the economy.

But the Commissioner of Agriculture in Lagos, Prince Gbolahan Lawal appealed to Nigerians to key into the Agricultural revolution of the federal government so that more jobs can be created.

FIIRO boss later explained that technology and innovation are veritable tools for national growth and development.

He said, “For national growth and development, national security and economic recovery and diversification, research and development in the fields of science, engineering, technology, and innovations must be at the forefront because it is the foundation of any successful industrial revolution and industrialization.”

Osun Farmers Praise Aregbesola Over Continued Support

Osun Farmers Praise Aregbesola Over Continued SupportThe Governor of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola has received a warm applause for being forthright on the implementation of policies designed to revamp the agriculture sector in the state.

The praise was coming from members of the Osun state chapter of Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria, while they presented their position paper to the State House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture.

The association commended the state for being the bulwark of support to the needs of farmers in the state since assumption of office.

Presenting the paper, the Chairman of the Association, Dr David Ogunsade, described agriculture as the only surviving alternative to dearth of revenue from crude oil production in the country.

He stressed the need for more support from governments, stakeholders and other interested groups to enhance agricultural productivity, capacity, as well improve on the youth’s endorsement and participation in farming.

Ogunsade said government must provide the enabling environment that would further enhance micro-credit facilities to farmers most especially the peasant farmers in the country.

He however saluted Governor Aregbesola’s administration for establishing what he described as a robust and mutually beneficial partnership with the association which according to him, had re-positioned the agricultural sector in the state.

Furthermore, he stated that the government of Osun had done well in boosting the welfare and morale of farmers through its prompt interventions as part of efforts to realising the state’s potentials in agriculture.

Calling for modern agricultural practices to improve on the agricultural productivity in the state, Ogunsade said no effort must be spared by all at building a capacity that would encourage farming through the provision of ultra-modern facilities to farmers.

According to him, for rapid growth in the sector, modern agricultural practices must be encouraged while interest-free loans must be introduced to farmers.

He implored the state not to relent on its goal at turning the state to food basket of the nation.

“Our moribund agricultural infrastructures like cassava processing industry, cocoa processing industry, palm oil production industry among others, must be resuscitated so as to meet the needs of the people and help the state to be self-sufficient in food production.

“We want our Governor to do more in reviving all the cassava processing industries across the state so as to further increase on our cassava production capacity,” he added.

In response, Chairman of the Osun State House committee on Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Gbadebo Abdullahi, said government would continue to support the association in realizing its goals.

He then urged the farmers to always fulfil their obligation by refunding all credit facilities provided by government in order to enable others to benefit.

Abdullahi also tasked the farmers to seek other avenues to improve on their production and quality.

He assured them that the government would do its bit and they should also do theirs while maintaining unity.

Another member of the committee, Mr Israel Aloba, in support, called on the members of the association to cooperate with relevant agencies in the realisation of their dreams, saying this would help fast track their job and make the state the hub of cassava production in the country.

PIND To Partner Cross River In Boosting Agriculture

Agriculture, Cross River, PINDThe Foundation for Partnerships initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) has revealed plans to partner with the Cross River State government to boost its agricultural sector.

The Program Director of PIND, Dara Akala, disclosed this during a meeting with the representatives of the group and the state government in Calabar, the state’s capital in southern Nigeria.

He said the Foundation would not relent in its aggressive grassroots campaign for peace in the Niger Delta region, in order for the region to be adequately developed with focus on agriculture.

Mr Akala assured of the government of PIND’s adequate support in areas of cocoa, cassava and aquaculture interventions through a viable seedling production that is viable.

In his words, the Chief Economic Adviser to the state government, Francis Ntamu, said the main thrust was to make the agricultural sector robust by increasing its output significantly which would in extension, boost the signature projects of the Governor Ben Ayade led administration.

PIND is a nonprofit foundation established to support a portfolio of socio-economic development programs for the Niger Delta in order to improve standards of living of communities in the region.

Farmers in the state anxiously look forward to the realisation of these promises which will in turn boost their agricultural output.

The foundation has met with the Cross River State Planning Commission to identify key areas in the agricultural sector where PIND can support the state by increasing productivity and improving the lives of farmers.

Oyo State To Improve Agric Sector Through Foreign Investment

AjimobiThe Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has said investors in the agricultural sector must bring a lot of value capable of truly transforming agric to a major income earner which can be sustained in a diversified economy.

Governor Ajimobi made this remark in his office when a group of South African investors paid him a visit to forge new partnership, especially in the agricultural sector.

The leader of the team, Mr Tommie Snyman, in his presentation, said they are in the state to bring expertise, experience and funds to promote agric and all allied sectors, as they have done in many African countries.

The governor expressed his delight for the group’s interest in the state, adding that Oyo remains largely agrarian, with very interesting offers for interested investors.

Ajimobi further maintained that any investor coming to the state must bring lots of value addition to the table, and will be reciprocated by economy friendly incentives.

The leaders of the South African team also explained that some of their manufactured products already control almost 80 per cent of the African market.

The facilitator of the meeting, Bar. Dipo Ilara explained that the parley was aimed at bringing foreign direct investment and lots of employment opportunities for residents of Oyo and neighboring states.

Meanwhile, a committee of experts from both the side of government and AFGRI will draft modalities of an effective working relationship in coming weeks.

Government Asked To Overhaul Agric Bank To Adequately Support Farmers

Shedrak Madlion Agriculturist talks About Nigerian's Agricultural Sector

An agriculturist has emphasised the need for the Nigerian government to overhaul the Bank of Agriculture, with the aim of making it more capable of supporting farmers.

Mr Shedrack Madlion said that the overhaul would enable farmers get the needed finance for modern day farming applications and tools that would improve yields.

“There should be an overhaul of the Agric Bank. At the moment, it does not have the compatible technology to support farmers. The Agric Bank has lost touch in how to take today modern agric application and financing to the farmers. When resources are provided for farmers, they give it to commercial banks,” he said.

Mr Madlion further urged the government to focus more on policy making and regulation in the Agricultural sector to enable the Agriculture contribute more to the nation’s economy.

He said the government had involved itself so much in agriculture than it should, insisting the government had no business in the distribution of fertilizer and other farm produce.

In 2014 Nigeria’s Agricultural sector contributed about 46.6 trillion Naira (about $245 billion) to the GDP, but Mr Madlion believes that the sector can contribute more if needed support would be given to farmers.agriculture

He said each community in Nigeria had the potential of producing an exportable crop.

In the last few years, the Nigerian government has focused on making agriculture business, empowering farmers with mobile phones and providing them information about availability of fertilizer and seedlings.

But Mr Madlion thinks more should be done.

“We are giving the impression that it is business. Get people to be involved in agriculture and remove government from it.

“We should not have the impression that all is well and then build on nothing. With the new government, we should look at how we should make agriculture a business.

“The government’s duty should be to put in standardisation, check animals, for instance to be sure they are fit for consumption before they are slaughtered. The government should get its hands off agriculture,” he said.

On the issue of funding, which has affected the chances of farmers across Nigeria to increase yields, Mr Madlion stressed that if 20 per cent of the amount of money said to have been injected into the Agriculture sector got to the farmers, it would go a long way in increasing yield.

“So many of the resources are being pronounced but the money does not get to the farmers.

“The CBN must have monetary and evaluation unit to monitor all agric debts of all our banks.

“There should be an overhaul of the Agric Bank. At the moment, it does not have the compatible technology to support farmers. The Agric Bank has lost touch in how to take today modern agric application and financing to the farmers. When resources are provided for farmers, they give it to commercial banks.

“Commercial banks also run away from lending to the farmers because of the cost of monitoring the loan,” he said.

The agriculturist also suggested that Micro Finance Banks should be segmented to handle different aspect of the Agricultural sector.

He also stressed the need for the government to provide good roads and improve the rail system to get to the rural areas where farmers live.

CBN Reaffirms Commitment To Improving Agriculture Sector

CBNThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining and improving on the impact of existing programs that support development in the agriculture sector such as the agricultural credit scheme among others.

This formed part of a statement read at the 6th Bankers Annual Retreat with the theme; “Financing Real Sector Growth in Nigeria” held in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, by the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele.

According to the CBN, with its attendant impact on the GDP and job creation, agriculture remains the critical focus sector of the Nigerian financial system, particularly the banking sector.

Reading out the areas of focus as resolved at the retreat, the CBN boss Godwin Emefiele disclosed that, CBN will massively channel resources in agriculture, power and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises sectors of the economy aimed at boosting the country’s import substitution and diversification strategies.

According to the CBN Governor, the Bankers also expressed full conviction in the fact that the long term success of the banking sector lied in the growth of these sectors, as about 100 companies in Nigeria account for more than 75% of the loans which the banks offer.

Through this platform over the years, the Bankers committee has made significant progress in transforming the Nigerian financial system into an enabler and an engine of real sector growth, through its advocacy, intervention and dedicated support by increase in lending to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise leading to growth in the Agriculture sector.

The 2014 Annual Retreat also believes the CBN’s financial inclusion policy is gradually but steadily ushering more Nigerians into the formal financial system, and applauded the complementary role of Nigeria’s telecom operators in this regard.

There was also renewed commitment for continuous interventions in lending to micro, small and medium enterprises (SME’s) as well as advocacy and finance to the power sector.

Agriculture Can Make You Have Your Own Private Jet – Jonathan Tells Young Farmers

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria while addressing the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit, on Tuesday, encouraged youths of the nation to participate in the agricultural sector which can help them become private jet owners.

The President commended the youth who are now shifting away from the mindset that agriculture is a “simple poverty-alleviation programme” and encouraged them “to begin to think that agriculture can make you have your own private jet.”

The economic summit, which provides an opportunity to discuss issues with a view to providing practical solutions, is organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, National Planning Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The summit is also the “foremost platform for dialogue between the public and private sectors,” for which the President thanked the organisers, for ensuring consistency for the annual event.

In his address, the President stated that the summit is coming at a critical time in the nation’s political history, following the launch of his administration’s mid-term report on the transformation agenda, on May 29th.

He stressed the government’s determination to “lay a solid foundation for the transformation of the country’s agricultural sector for enhanced growth and development”.

“The country is more determined than ever to unlock the great potentials of agriculture in order to ensure food security, create jobs and generate wealth,” he said, adding that it is “part of our continued effort to demonstrate our drive and commitment to work with the private sector to make agriculture once again, the main stay of our economy”.

This year’s summit focuses on the agricultural sector, which the President said he is not totally in agreement with because “you cannot discuss agriculture without discussing land. You cannot discuss agriculture without talking about farm managers, agronomists, agric engineers and agric economists, and that is education.”

He highlighted other sectors of the economy such as transportation, trade, finance and petroleum.

He also expressed satisfaction in the participation of middle class citizens adding that the involvement of the middle class signals the “beginning of a proper revolution”.

The 19th Nigerian Economic Summit currently on-going, is the third in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The event which is broadcast by Channels Television in Abuja has members of the National Assembly, Federal Executive Council, Members of the Economic Summit Group, Captains of industries and other guests in attendance.

Discuss agriculture in farms not Abuja, Farmer tells Economic Summit group

A farmer, Shedrack Madlion on Tuesday called on the National Economic Summit Group (NESG) to move any discussion on agriculture to a farming community and not in Abuja.

Speaking against the backdrop of the ongoing NESG conference holding in Abuja, Mr Madlion said as a sign of seriousness, the group should have considered holding the conference somewhere in Taraba or Kaduna.

“Everybody is on suit discussing farming in Abuja it doesn’t trickle down to the man that toils to put the food on the tables of Nigeria,” he said.

The farmer said the Federal Government does not have a proper plan to ensure food security for Nigerians in 2013.

 

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Professor of Agriculture says population is outgrowing food production in Nigeria

A professor of Agricultural in the Federal Univeristy of Agriculture Abeokuta, Bola Okuneye and Wale Oyekoya, the MD/CEO of Bama farms on Friday said Nigeria population is already outgrowing food production.

Misters Okuneye and Oyekoya were our guests on Channels Television’s programme, Business Morning.

Mr Okuneye said the rate of production is so low compared with the rate of population growth which is put at 3.5% because the various governments have not done much to aid the situation.