The Federal Government, through the Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project, has set aside N600 billion as loans to support 2.4 million farmers across the country.
The disclosure was made during the opening of the National Agricultural Show/Exhibition of the 2021 World Food Day, on Wednesday, in Abuja.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mahmood Abubakar, noted that this development would improve farmers’ capacity nationwide and consequently, food security.
He said his administration was not resting on its oars in addressing the challenges of the country’s agricultural sector.
“No fewer than 2.4 million farmers are expected to benefit from the loan which has zero interest. The gesture will support farmers in the country, to improve their productivity aimed at boosting the country’s food security, improving farmers’ production and increasing exports.
“It is gratifying that the sector is being treated as a business, no longer as a development project, with massive distribution of high-quality farm inputs, dissemination of appropriate research results and significant enhancement of the agricultural commodity value chains.
“I would wish to reiterate and it is clear that if the agricultural sector must be made more productive and food systems sustainable, we must all be prepared to invest massively in the sector and rise to the call against looming food crisis as predicted by the World Bank, FAO, AfDB and other key actors in food and agriculture,” he explained.
The theme of the 2021 edition of the Agricultural Show is: “Our Actions are our Future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.
In light of this, the president noted that since the beginning of the 2021 farming season, the Federal Government has distributed inputs to states, across the country to boost food production.
According to him, the agriculture value chain has witnessed an improvement, in terms of production capacity as well as revenue generated from the sector.
From his analysis, the production capacity of the country’s staple crops has witnessed a marginal increase, with the production capacity for rice experiencing about a 12 percent increase in the last year.
He said, “Nigeria recorded a boost in the production of her major staple crops especially, maize and rice, which rose from 12.8 and 12.3 to 13.94 and 14.28 million metric tonnes (MMT).
“The same is obtainable for cassava, whose production rose from 58.47 MT in 2018 to 73.91MT and is even projected to rise to 93.6 by 2023.
“Growth has also been recorded for groundnut, tomatoes, and sorghum production. Cattle beef, dairy and fish production also rose by 166 percent, 146 percent, and 11 percent, respectively between 2020 and 2021.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Bureau of Statistics report indicates that Nigeria’s national agricultural import bill also reduced from 1.2 to 1.1 billion Naira.”
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