Agric sector lifts 4.2m Nigerians out of poverty in 2 years — Minister



The Minister Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, on Friday, said that 4.2 million Nigerians had been lifted out 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 our effort food security, a total 446 potable water points were provided to rural communities nation-wide 286,500 households having access.

“We have also installed 11,952 electrical facilities, as as the 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 agricultural commodities, we have lifted a total 4,205,576 Nigerians out poverty in the last two years.

“This is going to continue as part Mr President’s promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out 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- period, spanning through the 4th quarter 2019 to the first and second quarters year 2020 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 the country’s livestock production activities and guarantees adequate supply of meat for domestic consumption and for export. (NAN)