Young farmers to get $22bn fund and land-Ogbeh

Solomon Chung, Abuja

In a bid to develop the Agricultural sector, the Federal Government is poised to embark on a single digit interest rate regime as well as a $22 billion fund and land to be accessed by prospective young farmers across the country.

Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Audu Ogbeh disclosed this at the Special Edition of the Federal Government’s Town Hall Meeting for Youths in Abuja.

Mr. Ogbeh also revealed that the Nigerian government was doing everything possible to develop the agriculture sector in a bid to make the country self-sufficient in food production and also improve on the area of food security.

“We are reforming the Bank of Agriculture to see how our farmers get a single digit interest rate in order to encourage them to keep farming because that is the practice world over. Forget some of the theories some of these foreigners throw about, in their countries they subsidized agriculture and give their farmers the best of tax holidays and incentives that naturally motivates people to go into agriculture.

For us to survive and feed ourselves as a country we must subsidize the agriculture sector. If we don’t do that, then we can’t feed ourselves and if we can’t feed ourselves, then every of our dream for greatness will come to nothing.”

The Minister said the federal government has concluded the process of certification and standardisation of Nigeria’s food produce for export.

Responding to a question of food exportation to other African countries, he said the process is covered by the Economic Community of West African States treaty but the easy way out is for Nigeria to keep storing food item in their silos for internal consumption just as it has been doing.

He gave the assurance that with the mechanisms and the bilateral MoU signed with Morocco on fertilizer production, by 2017,the prices of the commodity will drop drastically to the tune of N 5,000.

Also at the event were the Ministers of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung who promised to hold a special youth summit to find a way to settle the leadership tussles in the National Youth Council of Nigeria and also said the Ministry was fine tuning the country’s sports policies to be in-tune with present day reality so as to achieve desired results.

Infrastructure Investment

The Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said infrastructural investment will make the difference in 2017.He said the government has decided through the 2017 appropriation to inject a lot of money into the economy via different infrastructure.

Senator Chris Ngige who heads the Labour and Employment Ministry said the government had to intervene strongly to save some jobs in the economy due to the recession that led some financial institution’s, oil companies and others to embark on retrenchments of some sort.

He however said the government has embarked on massive recruitment in the civil service and just recently concluded recruitment in some MDA’s and still awaiting waiver to recruit in the paramilitary.

“The government has been doing well in that area, we always try to bring our youths out of the unemployment realm but the truth is that government alone cannot give everybody job.”

Minister of state Budget and Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed said the country will spend her way out of the recession by injecting funds in critical areas of the economy.