President Muhammadu Buhari has restated that the Federal Government will sustain concrete measures to diversify the nation’s economy by devoting more resources to Agriculture in the 2017 budget.
Speaking in Nairobi, Kenya, at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), President Buhari said African countries have a lot to learn from Japan on developing agriculture.
Buhari said, “this year, in Nigeria, we started an aggressive farming programme that entails organising farmers into cooperatives in the second and third tier of government. We intend to put more resources in our 2017 budget, especially in the procurement of machinery for land clearing, fertilisers, pesticides and training of less-educated farmers, as farm extension instructors.
“We have already registered some success this year in a number of states. We identified 13 states that will be self-sufficient in rice, wheat and grains before the end of 2018. We are very positive that soon we will be able to export these food products.”
On his expectation from TICAD, President Buhari said Japan’s story of rapid economic growth, hardwork and advanced technology should encourage Africans to strive harder and solve its development challenges.
The President who noted that Japan has the knowledge, technology and capital to assist African countries requested for increased participation of the Japanese government and the private sector in the Nigerian economy.
Also speaking at the TICAD VI, the President of African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, noted that creating markets, developing infrastructure and providing finance for farmers are key ingredients for transforming agriculture in Africa.
Akinwumi Adesina with Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation during TICAD VI
Adesina noted that these factors are necessary for transforming agriculture into a wealth-creating sector thereby generating income opportunities for farmers in rural areas. “Governments can do this by developing agro-allied industrial zones and staple crop processing zones in rural areas. The zones, supported with consolidated infrastructure, including roads, water, electricity, will drive down the cost of doing business for private food and agribusiness firms,” he emphasized.
Such zones, he noted, would create markets for farmers, boosting economic opportunities in rural areas, stimulating jobs and attracting higher domestic and foreign investments into the rural areas. He added that, “they will turn the rural areas into zones of economic prosperity.”