The Federal Government has restated its commitment to make Nigeria an agriculturally developed nation by 2015 through the implementation of the Agriculture Transformation Action Plan (ATAP).
Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, reiterated the commitment while addressing stakeholders at the 39th meeting of National Council on Agriculture in Enugu.
He said that with a growth rate of 7.9 per cent annually, Nigeria’s economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
He said that despite the appreciable growth rate of the economy, most Nigerians were still poor.
To address the paradox, Adesina said agriculture would be revitalized to create jobs and markets for Nigerian farmers.
He said that under the agriculture transformation agenda, government would work “aggressively” to create sustainable value chains for rice, cassava, sorghum, maize, cotton, soya beans, livestock and fishery.
The minister said that under ATAP, agriculture would be practiced as business instead of a development programme.
He said that `Dominion Farms', a private company, planned to invest 40 million dollars to develop a rice farm in Taraba.
Adesina said that the Federal Government would soon launch a major initiative to accelerate job creation in agribusiness for Nigerian youths.
“President Goodluck Jonathan is strongly committed to developing a new generation of youths who would embrace “agribusiness ventures.”
In his address, the CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, stressed the need to diversify the nation’s economy and reduce dependence on the export of crude oil in favour of agriculture.
Represented by Dr Kingsely Moghalu, the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Sanusi, however, noted that commercial banks viewed lending to agriculture as an unviable business.
He stressed that the apex bank had an important role to play to promote economic growth, adding: “There is no better way of doing this than making agriculture a viable business through the value chain system.” he said.