Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, has said that the federal government has lifted 4,205,576 Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years, through its various agricultural policies.
He said the ministry’s strategic policies and programmes including the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 of the current administration, have seen agriculture as the alternative to oil for meaningful diversification of the economy.
The minister stated this in Abuja while observing this year’s World Food Day, themed, ‘Our Actions Are Our Future. Better Production, Better Nutrition, A Better Environment And A Better Life’.
He noted that investment in agriculture can guarantee food security with the potential to be a major contributor to job creation and save foreign exchange required for food imports.
According to him, “our various empowerment initiatives along with production, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities, we have lifted a total of 4,205,576 Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years, this is going to continue as part of Mr President’s promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.”
Dr Abubakar pointed out that the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) and Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) were known to be the most recent, while the development of a successor policy termed National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) covering 2021 – 2025 is now in progress.
He added that “the upcoming NATIP is developed to provide an integrated approach to agricultural development in terms of access and application of improved inputs, linkages between agricultural research and training institutions, input provision for farmers, agricultural mechanization, extension services, provision of rural infrastructure, access to affordable funding, climate change management and sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and security of agricultural land and Investments.’’
In the area of capacity-building, the minister maintained that a total of 2,205,576 farmers/youths/women were trained and empowered on different agricultural value chains.
He also said to increase the provision of protein and nutrition to Nigerians, 150 animals were inseminated and 10 pasture plots were established, while a total of 352 crossbred cattle were generated and being utilised by pastoralists which would increase the supply of meat to the population.
Abubakar added that through the national accelerated fish production programme, a total of 783,102MT of fish was cultivated via the exploration of marine resources in the Deep Sea/Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the exploration of Inland water bodies by fish farmers and fishermen.
The minister stated that “to boost production, the ministry partnered the presidential fertilizer initiative to ensure adequate domestic production and marketing of NPK fertilizers at an affordable commercial rate and timely delivery to farmers.”
According to this, “the National Fertilizer Quality Control Act 2019 would provide regulatory framework aimed at guaranteeing the supply and distribution of quality fertilizers and other farm inputs to farmers for food security has been launched.’’
He emphasised that the ministry has supported the establishment of many value-addition processing companies under the APPEALS programme which has guaranteed an excess capacity in rice processing to increase paddy production and supply to the rice mills.