Federal Government set for Agricultural Revolution, targets Five Million jobs

The Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the Minister  for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, in separate speeches during a joint briefing in Abuja disclosed that the Federal Government is targeting Five Million jobs through its Agricultural Revolution  tagged ‘the Green Imperative’.

The Information Minister noted that the Federal Government plans to invest $1.2 billion dollars into the scheme which would be implemented for a period of 5-10 years, and anticipatedly would inject $10 billion into the Nigerian economy within the specified years of implementation.
The stage is now set for an agricultural revolution that will strengthen food security, create massive jobs, transfer technology, revive or reinvigorate many assembly plants, strengthen the economy, save scarce resources, mechanised farming and lead to the emergence of value-added agriculture, among other benefits. 
The Vice President launched “The Green Imperative” programme officially on 17 January, 2019 in the presence of the representatives of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Deutsche Bank as well as Brazilian and Nigerian private sector. 
The programme, worth $1.2 billion, is to be implemented over a period of 5-10 years with funding from the Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) and Deutsche Bank; with insurance provided by Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency (ABGF) and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit (ICIEC) of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and coordinated by GetĂșlio Vargas Foundation (FGV). 
Now, how will this programme revolutionise agriculture in Nigeria, you may ask? 
The Green Imperative” programme will lead to the following: 
1.Reactivation of six motor assembly plants in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for assembling tractors and other implements. The programme will import the Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts of about 5,000 tractors and numerous implements (for local assembly) annually for a period of 10 years. 
2.Establishment of 142 agro processing service centres for value addition,with one centre in each senatorial district. 
3.Establishment of 632 mechanisation service centres to support primary production in the 774 local government areas and the Federal Capital Territory. This will create 774 service centers nationwide to mechanize our farming methods and process or add value to farm produce locally,leading to efficiency and eliminating post-harvest losses, thereby cutting down cost of food all year round. 
4.Private sector operators will operate and manage all the service centres and the assembly plants. 
5. The programme will create about five million jobs and inject over $10 billion into the economy within 10 years. It will create a sustainable supply chain of agricultural raw materials for our large manufacturing companies to source locally, thereby saving billions of dollars in food-related forex.
The Green Imperative’, Alhaji Mohammed furthered, is a Nigeria-Brazil Bilateral Agricultural Development Program which among other benefits would train 100,000 extension workers within three years; impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically; encourage the revitalisation of research and extension service delivery through a five-year technology-package transfer component; and transfer of technology from Brazil’s manufacturers and institutions to Nigeria.
Following that decision, and between June 2016 and December 2019, several high level ministerial and technical visits and exchanges have occurred between the two countries. During one of such visits, the Bilateral Protocol of Intention with the government of Brazil was signed in March 2017. 
The programme design was jointly done by Nigeria and Brazil. The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development set up a High-Level Inter-Ministerial Committee for the bilateral programme design. 
In the course of the programme design, the Brazilian technical mission visited Nigeria and met with rural small-holder farmers. The Nigerian technical team also embarked on a study tour of three African countries (Ghana, Kenya and Senegal) where MFIP is being implemented to study their challenges as well as their successes or failures. 
The Nigerian technical team has also visited the selected assembly plants in the six geopolitical zones to determine in-country capacity to handle the assembly of a CKD-based programme of this magnitude. 
Since 2015, the Buhari administration has been working hard to bring about irreversible change in many sectors and to diversify the economy away from oil.”
Nanono in a separate speech noted that the program would impact 632 Local Government areas with Mechanisation and would attract six assembly plants before the end of the year as the Scheme centers on Mechanisation.

He however stated that the six assembly plants would come in streams.
We have about 82m to 90m hectares of land in Nigeria but we have only cultivated 34 million hectares and the cultivated land is not at optimal level. We cannot continue to depend on crude implements.  
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved this $1.2 billion loan and I think the National Assembly will approve it. It is not that the cash is coming to us but the equipment are coming to Nigeria.”

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