The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that the federal government, through its agriculture empowerment programme, had created new set of millionaires in farming.
The minister stated this on Tuesday, May 30, when he featured on a special edition of Channels TV programme, “Sunrise Daily” on the mid-term report of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, the news Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
He said that many young farmers were empowered through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s anchor borrower programme and the federal ministry of agriculture’s soil map initiative.
He said that the programme, which recorded huge success in rice and grain productions, particularly in Kebbi, Kano, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Sokoto states, had made farming attractive to young people.
He said the initiative had also helped in boosting the local production of rice, increasing yields per hectares in grains production and reducing importation of rice.
He said that in 2015, the country imported 580,000 metric tonnes of rice, which had been brought down to 58,000 metric tonnes in 2016 with the successful implementation of the programme.
The minister noted that though the price of local rice was still higher than the imported one, the situation would change when production increased.
He said the imported rice was being subsidised and dumped into the country but assured that the trend would change by next harvest.
The minister said that the government had also been able to bring down the cost of fertiliser from N9, 000 to N5, 000 following a bilateral agreement it signed with the Kingdom of Morocco.
Mohammed said that the country was gradually moving out of recession, particularly in the agriculture, manufacturing and solid minerals sectors.
He explained that it was made possible because of committed investments in infrastructure, ease of doing business and increased budgetary votes for capital projects.
The minister reiterated that looking at what the government had done in areas of the economy, security and in fighting corruption it had fulfilled its electoral promises. Mohammed said the situation would have been worse than it is now if Buhari was not in power, adding that he was proud to be a part of the administration.
He said in spite of recession brought about by the defective economy run by past administration only on oil and the sharp drop in the price of crude, the administration has performed well.