FG Directs CBN To Set Aside N50 Billion For Agric Intervention Support

Source: pointblanknews.com

The Federal Government has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to

set aside a N50 billion mechanization intervention support fund that will

allow and speed up the full establishment of the 1,200 private sector

driven Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises (AEHE) across the states

of the Federation.
The Vice President, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo gave this directive while

commissioning and flagging off on behalf of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,

President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the 100,000 metric tons

grains Silos at Sheda, Federal Capital Territory (F. C. T.) and the

Agricultural Equipment Hiring Centers in Nigeria.
The Vice President noted that, 'as we produce more food, it has become

necessary to expand our food storage capacity and reduce post-harvest

losses. The development of strategic grains reserve is central to our

policy of stabilizing food prices for consumers and assuring guaranteed

minimum prices and market access for farmers'. He further stated, 'that is

why I launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda in 2011, with the

goal of producing an additional 20 million metric tons of food by 2015'.

Vice President Sambo pointed out that current records indicate that 21

million metric tons were produced by Nigerian farmers surpassing this

target and achieving increased food production in the past three years.

The Vice President observed that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and

Rural Development (FMARD) has completed a total of six silos with a

capacity of 250,000 metric tons (MT) since November 2013 with a further

625,000 MT silos to be completed by December 2014, making a total of

875,000 MT silos capacity completed within two years. The Vice President

expressed satisfaction that the Agricultural Transformation Agenda is

achieving great strides in government's efforts to turn Nigeria into a

self sufficient country. He said, 'our Growth Enhancement Scheme and the

e-wallet system for reaching farmers with fertilizers and improved seeds

through the mobile phones, have reached 14 million farmers by 2014'. He

expressed delight that Nigeria is the first in Africa to develop the

e-wallet system which is now being replicated in several African

Vice President Sambo said that, 'with the Agricultural Enterprise Hiring

Enterprises (AEHEs) being launched today, the agricultural mechanization

program will be driven through a public private partnership involving

private sector manufacturers of tractors and agricultural machinery,

service provider operators, financial institutions and government'. He

commended the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, the Minister of

State, Asabe Ahmed and their team in the ministry for the impressive

progress achieved under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda.

Earlier, the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development informed all

that, private sector investments in agriculture are expanding. He

explained that, all across the nation, small-holder farmers are witnessing

a new dawn. 'Our food import bill has declined from N 1.1 trillion ($ 6.9

billion) in 2009 to N 684.7 billion ($4.35 billion) by December 2013 and

continues to decline in 2014' he said. He however added that despite the

gains, certain challenges remain. One of such challenges is the low level

of mechanization of the agriculture sector. Farmers still toil with

rudimentary implements; the high cost of land clearing is a major

disincentive for the expansion of cultivated area; while the high cost of

mechanization, from ploughing to harvesting, pose great challenges to

farmers across the country. He appreciated President Jonathan for every

support given to the Ministry saying, 'your vision is our road map'.

Other dignitaries present at the event included the Head of the Civil

Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Danladi Kifasi, Chinedu Nebo, Minister

of Power, Sarah Ochekpe, Minister of Water Resources, Minister of National

Planning, Abubakar Sulaiman, the Emirs, Etsu of Kwali and royal fathers

and chiefs, representatives of Nigerian farmers, the private sector,

entrepreneurs, CEO's of Tractor Owners Association of Nigeria, banks and

other relevant stakeholders.
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