President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday announced that the Federal Government has set aside N14 billion for dry season farming in 2014.
This is just as government said it is proposing a set of legal framework to stabilise government policies in the agric sector.
President Jonathan stated this at the launching of the 2014 dry season farm support programme at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Jonathan also commended the National Assembly for considering the enactment of legislation that will guarantee continuity of agric policies and assured them of cooperation from the executive in creating an enabling law for the policies in the sector.
He said the sum of N9 million was approved for the dry season farming last year, adding that government will continue to increase the funds as more farmers key into it.
“Our nation shall be green, our barns shall be filled and our farmers shall prosper”, he said.
Jonathan disclosed further that the country did not suffer from food crisis because contrary to critics, the Growth Enhancement Programme (GES) had already reached about more farmers as genuine farmers had already harvested their crops before the 2012 floods.
He also announced that food such as rice and grains had been harvested and stored especially in states that were not affected by the flood.
He also noted that agriculture is no longer a developmental project in Nigeria, adding that “it is no longer a
means of poverty alleviation. We have changed approach and that is why we are here today”.
Lauding the Nigerian farmers, the president promised that “we will continue to expand the GES to reach other farmers.
“Modern warehouses will be established across the country so that farmers can store their produce” and the airport facilities will be expanded to be able to move the produce as they come.
“I am happy to note that over 6 million farmers have received their farm input via the mobile phones while Nigeria is the first country in Africa to embark on the distribution of fertiliser via mobile phone”.
“Over one million genuine farmers who had accessed their seeds directly had also harvested their crops before the flood and therefore the country did
not experience food shortage after the flood”.
“Producing food in the rainy season is no longer enough; we must step up food production also in dry seasons”.
He assured that government will reach 10 million farmers this year with improved seedlings.
Akinwunmi Adesina, the minister of agriculture, told journalists that the N14 billion approved by the president will be used to massively support the dry season procurement and cultivation of rice, wheat and groundnut in the North.
The minister also declared that government is committed to diversifying its economy from over reliance on hydro carbon.
“We will no longer regard agriculture as a developmental programme but commercial venture for wealth creation”, he said.