The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has declared that agriculture will become Nigeria’s new oil.
Speaking when he launched the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) and the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Tuesday, Mr. Adesina noted that agriculture was Nigeria’s first love where the country’s greater future lied in.
He said, “Therefore, let me welcome you to the new agriculture space of Nigeria. As the price of crude oil plummets, I am convinced that the new currency for Nigeria will be agriculture, not just oil and gas.
“Agriculture will become Nigeria’s new oil. For agriculture was Nigeria’s past and in agriculture as a business lies Nigeria’s greater future for inclusive growth. Now Mr. President, please sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
“Meet and hear the voices of your nagropreneurs! Today you are in a green bow tie: you are so cool Mr. President. And agriculture is cool!”
The minister stated that YEAP was targeted at 740,000 market-oriented young agricultural producers in rural areas, adding that the target beneficiaries would be school leavers and young rural farmers comprising 20,000 per state of the federation.
He explained that under YEAP, 18,000 university graduates would be turned into agropreneurs and agribusiness leaders along area-based priority agricultural value chain, even as he said Nigeria was the first country in the world to develop and use e-wallet to deliver farm input.
“Food production has risen massively and as a nation we have produced an additional 21 million MT of food within the last 3 years.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics, food imports declined from N 1.1 trillion ($ 6.7 billion) in 2009 to N 684 billion ($4.35 billion) in 2013 and continues to decline”.