As Nigeria and Nigerians celebrate Democracy Day on June 12, 2020, and 21 years of uninterrupted democratic dispensation, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a national broadcast to commemorate the day, assured farmers of availability and affordability of fertilizers for the 2020 cropping season.
Buhari, who also maintained that the agricultural sector remains a major sector to achieve his administration’s drive for economic diversification, disclosed that 5,000 Agro-Rangers had been deplored to protect farmers and agribusiness investments.
He further stated that with more Nigerians utilizing opportunities in the agricultural sector his government will continue to support them through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes.
He said: “Agriculture remains the key to our economic diversification strategy. The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme continues to deliver significant quantities of affordable and high-quality fertilizers to our farmers. This initiative has also revived 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the value chain.
“Government is also revamping the cotton, textile, and garment sector via a CBN Textile Revival Intervention Fund that would considerably reduce foreign exchange spent on cotton and other textile imports.
“Through the food security initiative, we are promoting “Grow What We Eat” and “Eat What We Grow”. I am also delighted that more and more Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector. I assure you that the government will continue to support the Agriculture sector through the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes.
“To protect our farming investments, we have deployed 5,000 Agro-Rangers and employed 30,289 in our para-military agencies.
“We are also integrating rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.”
The President also disclosed that efforts on growing the non-oil sector have been yielding results which can be seen in revenue generated from Cocoa and Sesame seed with an increase of $79.4 million and $153 million respectively.
He also maintained that with efforts to stop an insurgency and armed banditry including other forms of criminality across the country, a threat to food security has been reversed with the gradual recovery of farming and other economic activities in affected states.
“Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million.
“Ending insurgency, banditry, and other forms of criminality across the nation is being accorded appropriate priorities and the men and women of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have considerably downgraded such threats across all geo-political zones.
“All the Local Governments that were taken over by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa have long been recovered and are now occupied by indigenes of these areas who were hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes.
“The total collapse of the economies of these areas, which constituted a threat to our food security, has also been reversed with the gradual recovery of farming and other economic activities”, he stated.
However, he expressed sadness over recent Boko Haram and arm bandits attacks that led to the killing of over 120 deaths in Katsina and Borno States, which he promised that security agencies will go after them.
“I regret recent sporadic incidents with the tragic loss of lives in Katsina and Borno States as a result of criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions. Security Agencies will pursue the perpetrators and bring them to swift justice”, he said.