Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari says his Government will sustain concrete measures to diversify the economy by devoting more resources to agriculture in the 2017 budget.
The president made this known in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, Buhari, who was speaking to reporters in Nairobi, Kenya, at the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), said that African countries had a lot to learn from Japan on developing agriculture.
He said already, Nigeria had started an aggressive farming programme that entailed organising farmers into cooperatives in the second and third tier of government.
“We intend to put more resources in our 2017 budget, especially in the procurement of machinery for land clearing, fertilizers, pesticides and training of less-educated farmers as farm extension instructors.
“We have already registered some success this year in a number of states; we identified some 13 states that will be self-sufficient in rice, wheat and grains before the end of 2018.
“We are very positive that soon we will be able to export these food products.
“We are also lucky that the farming season in the northern part of the country has been very good and we are expecting a bumper harvest this year,’’ he said.
On his expectation for TICAD, the president said that Japan’s story of rapid economic growth, hardwork and advanced technology should encourage Africans to strive harder and solve its development challenges.
“Japan has greatly advanced in technology, particularly in solar power, infrastructure to spur growth in medium and small-scale industries.
“And, because of the advanced use of technology, farming and agriculture can become competitive.
“Japan has the knowledge, technology and capital to assist African countries to develop and Japanese firms are in a very good position to successfully compete for the development of infrastructure in Nigeria,’’ he said.
He requested for increased participation of the Japanese government and the private sector in the Nigerian economy.
AGRICULTURE AND THE 2016 BUDGET:
TOTAL BUDGETARY PROVISION FOR AGRICULTURE = 75.80BILLION OR 1.5% OF THE BUDGET; CAPITAL =46.17BILLION AND RECURRENT EXPENDITURE= 29.63BILLION.
AGRIC PROJECT CAPTURED IN BUDGET DETAILS; Construction and rehabilitation of rural roads, 1.3billion; support for 187,500 farmers across the country, 1.3billion; extension services, 939.7million; development of strategic grazing reserves, 940 million; price stabilisation/buy-back/price guarantee scheme, 940million.
Other budgetary provision that will impact directly on agriculture include water projects. Construction of the Hadeja Valley Irrigation Project, 232.1million; supply/installation of pressurised/centre pivot irrigation system nationwide, 204.2million, rehabilitation of Adani Irrigation Project, 232.13million,ADB assisted rural water supply/sanitation initiatives, 200million; construction of embankment for Jare earth dam, Kashambila dam, Adada river dam, Ile-ife dam and Galma dam, 5.18billion; construction of 200 solar motorised boreholes nationwide, 1billion.
GOALS OF 2016 AGRIC BUDGET:
*Self sufficiency and net export of tomato paste by the end of 2016, rice by 2018, wheat by 2019.
*Revitalise and expand agro-allied processing to intensify local production and processing of cassava, cocoa, cashew, fruits and sesame.
*Utilize 5000 hectares of irrigable land in the 12 River Basin Dev. Authorities and 22 dams for commercial farmings.