The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has disclosed on Thursday, in Abuja, at a Media briefing to set the stage for the implementation of the mechanised farming programme, that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Agriculture revolution programme tagged: “The Green Imperative’’, will create about 5 million jobs, and inject over $10 billion (about N3.8 trillion), into the economy, within 10 years.
The briefing was jointly addressed by Mohammed and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono.
Mohammed said The Green Imperative, a Nigeria-Brazil bilateral agriculture development programme, is worth $1.2 billion, and would be implemented over a period of 5 to 10 years.
He stated that funding for the programme would come from the Development Bank of Brazil, BNDES, and Deutsche Bank.
The Minister added that insurance is provided by Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency, ABGF, and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit, ICIEC, of the Islamic Development Bank, IsDB, and coordinated by Getúlio Vargas Foundation.
Explaining how the programme would revolutionise Agriculture in Nigeria, the Minister said that 6 motor assembly plants will be reactivated in the 6 geopolitical zones of the country, for assembling of tractors and other implements.
He noted that the Completely Knocked Down, CKD, parts of about 5,000 tractors, would be imported, as well as numerous implements for Local Assembly annually, for a period of 10 years.
Mohammed said that 142 agro-processing service centres would be established for value addition, with 1 centre in each Senatorial District in the country.
He stated that 632 mechanisation service centres would also be established to support primary production in the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
“This will create 774 service centres nationwide, to mechanise our farming methods, and process or add value to farm produce locally.
“It will lead to efficiency, and eliminate post-harvest losses, thereby cutting down cost of food all year round.
“It will create sustainable supply chain of agricultural raw materials for our large manufacturing companies to source locally, thereby saving billions of US Dollars in food-related forex’’, he said.
The Minister disclosed that private sector operators would operate and manage all the service centres and the assembly plants.
He added that no fewer than 100,000 extension workers would be trained within 3 years, and the programme would impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically.
Lai Mohammed revealed that the programme would revitalise research and extension service delivery through a 5-year technology-package transfer component.
He maintained that the benefits would also include the transfer of technology from Brazil’s manufacturers and institutions to Nigeria.
The Minister stated that The Green Imperative dates back to June 6, 2016, when the country decided to enrol in Brazil’s Government-to-Government More Food International Programs, MFIP.
He recalled that Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, launched the programme officially on January 17, 2019, in the presence of the representatives of Brazil, Deutsche Bank, as well as Brazilian and Nigerian private sector.
“The stage is now set for an agricultural revolution that will strengthen food security, create massive jobs, transfer technology, and revive or reinvigorate many assembly plants.
“It will strengthen the economy, save scarce resources, mechanise farming, and lead to the emergence of value-added agriculture, among other benefits’’, he said.
For his part, Nanono gave the assurance that the programme would not be hijacked by Politicians, and that it would be private sector driven, while government would only provide the policy framework.
He said that participation would be through limited liability companies, cooperative societies, and farmers’ associations.
“People must take this programme very serious; they should take the opportunity by beginning to form cooperative societies and farmers’ associations’’, he stated.
The Minister added that the youths would be the major target of the mechanised farming programme, and would-be participants should not be discouraged by the challenge of insecurity, now being addressed by government.