The Federal Government has projected that farmers in the country would earn about $2 billion by year 2015 with steps being taken to improve rice production in the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, explained that steps taken by the government to improve rice production should lead to the segment becoming self sufficient by 2015.
Speaking recently in Abuja, the minister said this was possible as Nigeria was rolling out an ambitious reform programme across its agricultural sector aimed at cutting the country’s dependency on food imports, creating jobs and generating economic growth.
He told the global publishing, research and consultancy firm, Oxford Business Group (OBG) that the measures, which involve boosting private sector participation and improving competitiveness, would form a key part of Nigeria’s plans to diversify the economy away from oil.
“Over the next five years, we plan to add 20m tonnes of additional food to the domestic food supply to create 3.5 million jobs in the sector, and to replace up to 40 per cent of wheat flour imports with high-quality cassava flour,” he said.
Adesina highlighted the results that some of the key reforms already introduced were bringing, such as the move to privatise the procurement and distribution of fertiliser and seed. According to him, “As a result, our private sector firms are growing and foreign direct investment is increasing”.
He pointed out that he is optimistic that Nigeria’s banks were well-placed to support the expansion of the country’s agricultural sector.
“The necessary key for successful reform is to turn agriculture into a business that makes money, with a focus on investments as opposed to aid and development. We need to move towards focusing on particular value chains in which we have a traditional comparative advantage,” Adesina said.