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.

Nothing Is More Important Than Food- Agriculture Minister

 The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina on Tuesday vehemently and unequivocally stated that “nothing is more important than food”.

The minister said this while addressing participants at the 19th Nigeria Economic Summit, holding in Abuja, with a live broadcast on Nigeria’s Multiple award-winning Television Station, Channels Television.

He noted that “a nation that does not feed itself, but becomes a threat to its own sovereign existence” warning that “growing our own food, processing what we produce, becoming competitive in export markets and creating jobs across all our economy are crucial for national security”

This warning comes after the Director General of the National Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr Frank Nweke Jnr warned earlier of the impending threat to national security posed by the importation of food into the country.

Adeshina berated the over-dependence on oil warning that “diamonds may last forever but oil does not last forever”.

“The future trajectory of earnings from crude oil does not look good” warning that other countries have found “shale oil and shale gas”.

He noted that Nigeria must free itself from over dependence on crude oil and shift its attention to agriculture “the sector where we have the greatest potential to achieve this and this is the time”.

With only 40 per cent of 84 million hectares of arable land being cultivated, 263 billion cubic metre of water, two of the largest rivers in Africa, cheap labour to support agriculture, the minister insisted that “Nigeria has immense agricultural potential”.

He further maintained that the jaw-dropping 167 million population “makes us a huge market, we must not be the market for others” adding that “we must grow our own food, we must feed ourselves, we must create markets locally for our own farmers”.

He said his ministry, through the Rapid Transformation of the Agricultural Value Chains has embarked on a major transformation of the agricultural sector to unlock the potential of agriculture and drive the economy.

Group Calls On FG To Speed Up Efforts Toward Achieving MDG’s

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to intensify its efforts in achieving the millennium development goals to eradicate poverty and improve the standard of living in the country.

The special adviser to the president on NEPAD, Ambassador Tunji Olagunju made the demands of the group known while speaking at a meeting organised for state coordinators in Lokoja. He highlighted agriculture and food security, energy infrastructure, human capacity in health and education as ‘critical sectorial priorities’.

While delivering his speech at the programme, themed ‘NEPAD As Tool For Good Governance,’ Mr Olagunju said that the event was aimed at revealing the fact that the absence of good governance has become the most critical missing link in the quest for sustainable development.

He pointed out that a recent study revealed that the Africa region has not benefited from global decrease in the proportion of people living in poverty and hunger in spite of its natural endowment.

The Kogi state governor, Idris Wada, while addressing the gathering, disclosed that his administration has identified the inescapable need to work with the various component of private sector and civil society in order to develop, implement and promote strategies that will enable the state realise the four priority of transformation agenda as to add value to lives of people of the state and ensure good governance.

Mr Olagunju expressed his optimism, that if the projects and programmes under the sectors are conscientiously implemented, they will bring about transformative shift of that wish, will have positive impact on the living condition of the people.

 

Agriculture To Create 3.5 Million New Jobs By 2015 – Jonathan

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has disclosed that that his administration has embarked on bold policy and institutional reforms aimed at adding 20 million metric tonnes of food to domestic supply and creating at least 3.5 million new jobs by 2015 in the agriculture and allied industries.

The President made this known on Tuesday while speaking at the formal opening of a meeting with members of the Eminent Persons Group on the Transformation of Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland.

President Jonathan said that the present administration’s objective was to build on Nigeria’s tremendous natural resources, reverse the decline in the agricultural sector’s productivity which followed the discovery of oil, establish domestic self-sufficiency in food and make the country “a major net exporter of food”.

“Such a shift will not only reduce the billions of dollars we spend importing basic food items, but will also create millions of jobs, especially for our youth,” the President said.

He also told the gathering that his administration was wholly committed to a government-enabled, private sector driven transformation of the nation’s agricultural sector.

He further disclosed that the initiative to transform Nigeria’s agricultural sector through the private sector is already paying off with new private sector investments worth about Eight Billion U.S. Dollars now committed to agriculture.

Thanking members of the Eminent Persons Group for their support, he stated that their contributions will not only help to achieve food security for the nation, but also help to create more new jobs to take millions of unemployed youth off the streets and into productive employment.

Experts affirm that flood will not affect Nigeria’s food security

Just as the Minister of Agriculture recently dispelled fears over the possibility of food insecurity as a result of the flood disaster, experts in the agriculture sector have also affirmed that there is no reason to worry.

Speaking on our weekend breakfast show; Sunrise, the director of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for West Africa, Dr Roberts Asiedu, stated that “with the quantity of food produced in the country, with proper planning and mobilization, we should not have a situation where we have a on long term impact of the flood.”

According to him, the flood will even improve the soil quality because the flood will deposit rich top soil on the flooded farm lands as the flood water is moving fine soil materials from other areas and it will deposit it on the flooded plains.

The agronomist also argued that a number of disease causing organisms that would have damaged crop plants that are surviving in the soil will also be suffocated and killed.

But he warned that their will some level of pressure after the flood as it recedes as farmers rush to late planting.

He enjoined both the government and private sector to ensure that food are transported across the country in the immediate aftermath of the flood disaster to avoid an expected rush.

“There is enough food production in the country and neighbouring country; all efforts must just be made to re-direct the exported farm produce for internal consumption at a good price for the farmers.”

According to the IITA expert, Nigeria produces 67 per cent of the yams produced in the world and the country is the largest producer of cassava in the world, so he emphasised that there is no need to worry.

On addressing the challenge of post-harvest losses, the country director of Harvest Africa, Mr Paul Ilona, also affirmed that the federal government purchases and store a great deal of grains produced across the country, but added that he is not able to confirm the condition in which they are stored.

According to Mr Ilona, the current flood disaster on rough estimate has affected just about 300,000 hectares of cultivated land while the nation’s cultivated land mass exceeds 40 million hectares, so the crop expert also agrees that with adequate planning, there will be no worries about food security after the flood.

Food Security:The country is under siege – Madlion

Sunrise Daily the weekly breakfast show with the trio of Chamberlain Usoh, Maupe Ogun and Sulai Aledeh had Shedrack Madlion; a farmer came in to talk on food security with the crew.

Still on food security; Shedrack Madlion said the whole country is under siege after Chamberlain asked Madlion if Nigerians should be worried concerning food security going by the events that has been reshaping the future of the country.