The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Adewumi Adesina, has said the Nigerian government is to assist 20 million farmers across the country with subsidized agricultural inputs, including fertilizer and improved seedlings, under its national agricultural transformation program.
Speaking in Adamawa State, the minister said the project, which is commencing next year, would target five million farmers each year for the next four years. He added that the government is spending 400 billion Naira (about 2.54 billion USD) on the project aimed at facilitating the country’s efforts to achieve food security and grassroots empowerment.
According to Adesina, “We may be tempted to look at the cost implications of the project but the benefit is about 16 times more in terms of what stand to gain.”
He added, “Malawi was a food-deficit country but one year, Malawi made sure its 2.5 million farmers got seeds and fertilizer. In the following season, Malawi became a net exporter of food.”
“For the past six years, Malawi has been a net exporter of food. So, if Malawi can do it, why not Nigeria. That explains why we are going in that direction.”
The minister stressed that if Nigerian farmers were able to get the necessary farming inputs without hitches, they would be in a position to increase production. He noted that Nigeria, with about 79 million hectares of arable land, should be able to attain self-sufficiency in food.
He said, “Less than 11 per cent of real farmers get the subsidized fertilizer and that is a disaster. We intend to transform the distribution of fertilizer in the country by taking government out of the scene.”