The federal government has in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), articulated and identified 10 key prioritized projects set to double productivity and improve access to export markets in a sustainable manner.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who disclosed this at Nigeria’s Agricultural Joint Sector Review in Abuja, Thursday, named prioritized projects to include; the comprehensive livestock development project, input transformation project, expanded access to finance and markets project, value addition and processing support project, agriculture water management and agriculture manpower development project.
Others are agricultural research and innovation project, produce and commodity storage systems, commercial agriculture expansion support project and nutrition, quality control and standardisation project.
Represented by Director, Planning and Policy Coordination, Auwal Mai-Dabino, Ogbeh said Government’s strategic intervention in the sector, especially through the Anchor Borrowers’ programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had reduced rice import from 500,000MT in 2015 to 58,000MT last year.
He mentioned other notable reforms in the sector to include the restoration of the National Agricultural Land and Development Authority (NALDA) and the three Universities of Agriculture, back to the ministry.
Ogbeh noted that the provision of available sulphate to fertilizer blending plants was very significant, while efforts were on to recapitalize the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to provide single digit financing to farmers.
He assured that “the present administration would continue to partner and collaborate with stakeholders through the joint sector review for a realistic and transparent assessment of the performance and results of the sector”, adding that it will help government in setting sector policy and priorities among other gains.
Nigeria is signatory to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programmme (CAADP) better known as Maputo Declaration.
African Head of States and Government in 2014 reviewed the implementation and recommitted to developing the sector “by ensuring at least 10% spending target, 6% sectoral growth rate, zero hunger, 10 % stunting reduction, inclusive public-private-partnership, 30% youth engagement in agricultural value chains and 30 farm/pastoral households agricultural livelihoods.”
Country Team Leader of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), in Nigeria, Dr. Kehinde Makinde, who spoke to Daily Sun on the side-line, said the policy dialogue would afford Nigeria the opportunity to firm up its report for presentation to the African Union Summit in January 2018.