President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his administration’s determination to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production with the capability to export 10 million tons of grains and processed food by 2019.
The president made this known in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Arc. Sonny S. T. Echono to the Agricultural initiative, the ‘Green River Project’ (GRP).
It was embarked upon by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC) and its partners, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Oando, and indigenous oil and gas companies.
From all indications, the government’s programme will lead to the development of 740,000 market-oriented young agricultural producers.
The President, in the speech said the government had moved to establish the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) which will benefit 20,000 school leavers and rural youth leaders in each state of the federation and develop 18,500 university graduates into young agribusiness entrepreneur called “nagropreneurs”
The strategy, according to him, will also ensure Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises (AEHEs) which is a private sector-led mechanisation programme that will inject a total of 6,000 units of tractors and implements, 15,000 power tillers, 20,000 planting and postharvest equipment to mechanise an estimated 4 million hectares of land nationwide.
Reports say the NAOC initiative has so far covered over 120 rural communities and empowered over 35, 000 farmer.