By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has said three million school children will benefit from the Home Grown School Feeding programme by the end of 2017 even as he revealed that more one million primary school children across seven states are currently being fed through the programme.
The Acting President who stated this in his Democracy Day speech to commemorate the second anniversary of the Buhari Administration, in Abuja, noting that President Buhari in the budget presentation speech to the National Assembly last December outlined their economic agenda in detail, and assured that 2017 is the year Nigerians would begin to see tangible benefits of all the planning and preparation work by the administration.
The Acting President said in the five months since the President delivered that speech “We have seen tremendous progress, as promised, take the example of our Social Investment Programme, which kicked off at the end of 2016. The Acting President also recalled that in that budget speech in December, the President announced the take-off of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative.
“Today, five months on, that initiative – the product of an unprecedented bilateral cooperation with the Government of Morocco – has resulted in the revitalisation of 11 blending plants across the country, the creation of 50,000 direct and indirect jobs so far, and in the production of 300,000 metric tonnes of NPK fertilizer, which is being sold to farmers at prices significantly lower than what they paid last year.”
He stated that by the end of 2017 “that Fertilizer Initiative would have led to foreign exchange savings of $200 million; and subsidy savings of 60 billion naira.” Prof. Osinbajo added that the Initiative is building on the solid gains of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, launched in 2015 to support rice and wheat farmers, as part of their move towards guaranteeing food security for Nigeria.
“All of this is evidence that we are taking very seriously our ambition of agricultural self-sufficiency. I am delighted to note that since 2015 our imports of rice have dropped by 90 percent, while domestic production has almost tripled. Our goal is to produce enough rice to meet local demand by 2019” he added.