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Agric Ministry to Spearhead FG’s Economic Diversification Agenda –Ogbe

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe has assured the country that the Ministry would live up to expectations on the plans by the government to diversify the economy from the Oil into the non-oil sector.

Ogbe who gave the assurance while making appearance before the joint committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives on Agriculture for budget Defence of the ministry, said the ministry was already committed to plans to increase the national food supply to address the national food security in 2016, promising that the sector will add 20 million metric tones annually to national food supply.

He also said that the ministry was also making frantic efforts to assist in creating not less than 3 million sustainable jobs annually in Nigeria.

He anchored the initiatives by the Ministry on diversification on import substitution, export substitution, labour intensive family enterprises (life) programmes, agricultural mechanization, grazing reserves/stock routes development.

Giving the breakdown of the 2016 budget proposal, for Agriculture Ministry, Ogbe said the sum of N40, 918,856,927 would be spent, while the sum of N34, 501,127,211 representing 84 per cent stands for capital projects, N235, 259,192 representing 0.6 per cent stand for overhead costs.

He said the sum of N6,182,470,524 representing 15 per cent of total proposal would be spent on personnel.

He said the ministry was projecting an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N904,739,098.69 for 2016 fiscal year, adding that N664,998,569.88 would be for taxes and N239,740,528.81 as Independent Revenue.

“The overall objectives, targets and deliverables of the 2016 capital projects and programmes is to stimulate agricultural growth to diversify the economy and increase income of farmers.

“The key initiative for the fiscal year in the agricultural sub-sector is to increase the national food supply and to address national food security. To add 20 million metric tons of food annually and to create 3 million sustainable jobs annually”, he said.

According to him, the ministry will continue the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) programme as a platform to deliver inputs like fertilizers, seeds and agro-chemicals to smallholder farmers.

He added that the ministry intends to increase and improve livestock especially cattle by establishing through the private sector, a large number of cattle breeds improvement centers nationwide.

“It will no longer be exclusive business for the Fulani to kill cattle, any farmer who have interest can participate but it would be private sector driven programme supported by the treasury”, he explained.

The minister however lamented that the major challenges of the sector remained inadequate funding to attain the desired Key Performance Indicators (KPIs); non-synchronization of budgetary releases with the desired roll-out of agricultural inputs to farmers; insecurity and climate change resulting in flooding and desertification.


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