By Crusoe Osagie
The Federal Government has revealed that the value of the nation’s agricultural sector has been projected to hit about N256 billion by the year 2030.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who gave the growth figure for the sector at a Food Security Summit in Lagos, said if steps to develop the sector are implemented as is currently being done by the present administration, it would induce a growth that would move the sector from the present $99 billion value to $256 billion.
Describing some of the effort being put in place to ensure the sector grew to projected levels, Adesina, who was represented at the event by his special adviser, Mr. Kola Masha, stressed that government has had to implement a vigorous and ambitious agricultural agenda to ensure that the country stayed on course to achieve projected growth.
According to the minister, “by the year 2015, the sector expects 3.5 million jobs within 5 value chain including rice, cassava, sorghum, cocoa and cotton, with many more jobs to come.”
He stressed that as the near term agricultural transformation agenda is implemented, about $2 billion additional income would be placed in the hands of Nigerian farmers, while around $2 billion would also be injected into the economy from rice self-sufficiency programme, which is currently being implemented.
He added that $380 million injected into the economy from partial substitution of cassava flour for wheat flour in bread and confectioneries, as well as additional 20 million metric tonnes to domestic food supply produced locally, would set the nation on its way to achieving projected growth targets.
The minister said with a vision to achieve a hunger-free Nigeria through an agricultural sector that drives income growth, accelerates achievement of food and nutritional security, generates employment and transforms Nigeria into a leading player in global food markets to grow wealth for millions of farmers, the government has immediately put a stop to some of its past activities.
Highlighting some steps so far taken to move the sector forward, he said, “we have ended the era of treating agriculture as a development project; there are no more isolated projects without a strategic focus to drive agricultural growth and food security in a clear and measurable way, and there is no more big government crowding out the private sector”.
Conversely, he said the Federal Government has started treating agriculture as a business; integrating food production, storage, food processing and industrial manufacturing by value chains; focusing on value chains where Nigeria has comparative advantage.
He said the country was also canvassing investment-driven strategic partnerships with the private sector; and policy reforms and innovative financial instruments to drive incentives for the private sector. Thisdaylive news