The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, on Friday, said that 4.2 million Nigerians had been lifted out of poverty, through the agriculture sector in two years.
The minister disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja, to commemorate the 2021 World Food Day under the theme: “Our Actions are our Future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life’’.
“As part of our effort to ensure food security, a total of 446 potable water points were provided to rural communities nation-wide with 286,500 households having access.
“We have also installed 11,952 electrical facilities, as well as the provision of 5Nos, 500KVA transformers to the rural areas, to facilitate access to electricity for food processing activities.
“In addition, through our various empowerment initiatives along production, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities, we have lifted a total of 4,205,576 Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
“This is going to continue as part of Mr President’s promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.
“It is on record that agriculture was the only sector in Nigeria that recorded marginal growth during the COVID-19 lock-down period, spanning through the 4th quarter of 2019 to the first and second quarters of year 2020 with an average contribution of 24.23 per cent to the country’s GDP,” he said.
“The impressive 2021 second quarter growth rate of 5.01 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product released on Aug. 19 by the National Bureau of Statistics has crop production and food manufacturing as major contributors.
“The Green Imperative programme, which is expected to address the long standing problem of agricultural mechanisation is underway.
“The programme would ensure adequate supply of tractors and other implements to farmers on a public-private partnership arrangement.
“The model adopted is sustainable and would ameliorate the challenge of low production, due to lack of sufficient machinery,” he said.
He also disclosed that the Agricultural Trust Fund Bill had passed second reading at the National Assembly which, if passed into law, would address emergency funding for agricultural activities in the country.
However, the minister acknowledged the challenges bedeviling the sector’s productivity.
“The insecurity bedeviling many farming communities in the North has greatly affected food production in the last three to four years, and the farmer/herder clashes, banditry, cattle rustling all posed serious setbacks to our food systems,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the National Livestock Transformation Plan, would address all the problems associated with the country’s livestock production activities and guarantees adequate supply of quality meat for domestic consumption and for export. (NAN)