The Presidency says it has spent N10.37 billion in three years to boost food security in the country.
In a statement from the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Presidency said that N541 million was expended in 2011, N5.1 billion in 2012 and N4.73 billion in 2013.
The statement was signed by Mr Desmond Utomwen, the Media and Communications Consultant to Dr Precious Gbeneol, the Special Assitant to the President on MDGs, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
It said that the Federal Government was making every effort to ensure improvement in agricultural production to ensure food sufficiency in the country.
“In 2011, the sum of N541 million was provided for agricultural investment targeted at improving food security.
“In 2012, the sum of N5.1 billion was allocated while in 2013, the sum of N4.73 billion was appropriated in the Federal Budget to foster food security,’’ the statement said.
It explained that the increase in budgetary allocations in 2012 and 2013 was done to support the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).
The objective of the ATA, it further said, was to improve production, processing and marketing infrastructure necessary for selected commodity value chains.
“With the support, the office has been able to train 5,000 youths in 10 different value chains and provided start-up packages for 6,000 youths, including access to credit and other inputs through GES.
According to the statement, 2,500 women were trained in poultry production, bull fattening, sheep and goat production, bee keeping, crop value chains and extension.
It also said that 22,500 farmers were trained in agricultural practices to boost food production in the country.
It stated that the Presidency provided loans to trainees to purchase starter packs and to access the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme and other necessary inputs.
It added that the loans would help the trainees to re-invigorate Extension Support Services through the training of farmers.
It said the loans also covered the procurement of 5,000 potable pesticide sprayers, construction of roads to staple crop processing zones and the rehabilitation of rural feeder roads in crop production clusters.
It explained that GES was designed to provide affordable agricultural inputs such as fertiliser and hybrid seeds to farmers, to increase their yield per hectare, making it comparable to world standard. [NAN]