Recession: Nigeria Making Progress With Agriculture, Says Presidency
Efforts to get the nation out of state of misery brought about by economic recession are yielding much results in the area of Agriculture, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu told the Pyramid Radio in Kano.
According to Malam Garba,”Because the elite don’t care for ordinary people they are saying that government is doing nothing but we are doing a lot for ordinary people. They don’t want us to talk about the 14 solar power projects that have been licensed to boost electricity supply in the country; the Mambila power power project which will soon leave the drawing boards and the many Chinese projects including the standard gauge railway. This country has more important things to talk about instead of dwelling on trivia.”
He said the price of a bag of fertilizer is down from about N9,000-N10,000 per bag to 5,500. This country has about 32 fertilizer blending plants that have remained idle for many years but that about half that number are now in production with many of them running three shifts a day. According to him, some of them employ as many as 100 workers.
Speaking about the flagship agricultural program of rice production in the country, the Presidential spokesman said that “while 2014, we bought 1.2 million tons of rice from Thailand, only 58,000 tons were imported last year.”
Garba as he is famously called said as a result of the country’s growing rice production, assisted by the the decision by the government to deny foreign exchange through the Central Bank for the importation of rice “parboiled rice mills in some Asian countries are shutting down because Nigeria, one of the world’s largest largest importers is not buying. Five of such mills in Thailand servicing Nigeria have stopped production due to the withdrawal of our patronage.
” Currently, government is watching with keen interest, the growing investment in rice milling by the private sector and will continue to give encouragement through the Ministry of Agriculture to such efforts by BUA Industries in Jigawa, Dangote in Kano, OLAM and WACOTT in Nassarawa and Kebbi and what a consortium of businessmen lead by a former Governor in Anambra State are doing. The increase in the volume of rice production and processing is already saving this country a lot of money.”
Malam Garba also indicated that the administration’s agricultural revolution was was bringing about other socio-economic changes in the country. “A recent survey in two urban areas in Jigawa state, the capital Dutse and Kiyawa showed that jobless young men are migrating from motor cycle taxi, achaba to farming. In Kiyawa, it takes a long wait to catch a motor cycle taxi because they are rapidly disappearing. The young men are moving to the farms. These are development issues in the country that our media should pay attention to,” he said in the program.
Asked whether the President will be launching the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative next week as is being speculated, Malam Garba said that President Muhammadu Buhari would allow the production processes take a firm root. “The President will rather commission successes not promises. In some weeks or months ahead, you will see happen.”