President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria’s revenue from cocoa and sesame seeds has increased by $79.4 million and $153 million respectively in the past year.
He disclosed this in his speech during a national broadcast to commemorate the Nigerian “Democracy Day”, Friday.
“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,” he said.
Meanwhile, a report by PREMIUM TIMES early February this year, showed that despite government’s promises and efforts, Nigeria’s cocoa sector was still struggling as it hurtled from its second position in the 60s in the cocoa global market to seventh.
Mr Buhari also said agriculture “remains the key to our economic diversification strategy, and that the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) programme continues to deliver significant quantities of affordable and high-quality fertilisers to the Nigerian farmers.”
“This initiative has also revived 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the value chain,” he said.
Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI)
Nigeria and Morocco in December 2016 signed a collaboration agreement to revive the abandoned Nigerian fertiliser blending plants.
Following the agreement, about 21 fertiliser plants have been revitalised so far under the initiative with a capacity to produce over 2.3 million metric tonnes of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
For this year, the plan of the PFI was to produce 600,000 metric tonnes of this blend of fertiliser before the pandemic struck, Gideon Negedu, Fertiliser producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria’s secretary said. “So far, about 300,000 — 400,000 metric tonnes of fertilisers have been disbursed under this initiative and plans were already ongoing towards making sure that the process is more efficient and effective.”
Mr Buhari said the 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, he said, “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,” he said.
Anchor Borrowers Programme
In November 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the ABP to provide farm inputs in kind and cash to small-holder farmers (SHFs) to boost agricultural production and for the country to reverse its negative balance of payments on food.
Farmers captured under this programme include those cultivating cereal, cotton, roots and tubers, sugarcane, tree crops, legumes, tomato and livestock.
The loans are disbursed through the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Microfinance Banks (MFBs), all of which the programme recognises as Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs).