The Federal Government said on Tuesday that the development of value chains in the agricultural sector would create an additional 3.5 million jobs for Nigerians.
Mr Michael Eneh, a director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Enugu.
Edeh said that the value chain initiative was part of efforts by the Federal Government to implement the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).
The director, who is in-charge of agriculture and natural resources, said that 12 commodities, including rice, cassava, sorghum, cocoa, cotton, soybeans and oil palm had been selected in the first phase of the chain.
“We are also developing the value chains. If you produce something like cassava, we have developed high quality cassava flour which has been used to substitute up to 40 per cent of wheat flour we use for bread making.
“We are not just talking about production. We are promoting entire value chain to enable farmers to make money, create jobs.
“The agricultural transformation for the ministry is to generate about 3.5 million jobs.”
Edeh said that states could develop value chains for commodities peculiar to them.
He said the government had concluded plans to hand over procurement and disbursement of fertilisers to the private sector to enable genuine farmers to have access to the input.
Eneh said the government had also developed an electronic wallet which would enable farmers to buy farm inputs such as fertiliser and seedlings at subsidised rates.
“There is something called cellular. It is going to be electronic wallet, which we are going to load it to every farmer who is registered with us.
“If he goes to where they sell the fertiliser, if it is 5,000, he pays only 2,500 and government pays the other through electronic transfer.
“So, all these corruption of distribution will be eliminated, so that farmers get the input at the right time.”
The director said the e-wallet was used the same way phone handsets were being used with their subsidy loaded in them to enable them to purchase the needed inputs from the dealers after verification.
Another facility introduced to boost agriculture is the Nigerian Incentive-based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Loan (NIRSAL), which helps farmers to access bank loans without difficulty, added.