The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, has hinted that the Federal Governnment is set to inject over N600 billion stimulus fund into agriculture to boost food security and sustainability. He made this known in a statement signed by the Director of Information of the ministry, Mr Theodore Ogaziechi on Sunday in Abuja.
According to the statement, the minister revealed this while on a tour of Dangote Fertiliser Plant and other fertiliser companies in Lagos State. The package as revealed in the statement is expected to target farmers, especially small scale nation wide targeting an initial 2.4 million farmers.
The minister said that to avoid the abuse of government funds and good intentions, the support would be in form of inputs and not cash as was the practice in the past. And added that the closure of all international borders, occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic, has proved that Nigeria could conveniently and sustainably feed itself.
In his courtsey call on the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwolu as part of his official itinerary promised to support the state farming communities with rural roads, solar lighting and water holes to increase productivity. He further promised to collaborate with the Lagos State government in revamping the fish sub-sector of the state in order to tap into its marine potentials to reduce fish importation.
On his part, the governor promised to collaborate with the Federal Government not only in the fishing sector but mechanised farming as well. This according to him would be actualised when the largest rice mill in Nigeria with a capacity to mill approximately 30 million metric tonnes of rice per annum was completed.
Sanwolu said Lagos State had a large retail market for agricultural products as well as the largest enabler in the industry with Dangote Fertiliser Plant cited in its domain.
Meanwhile, Dangote Group, Premium Agro Limited, Elephant Group, Kewalram Group and other fertiliser blending companies complained of shortage of raw materials particularly ammonia phosphate as the major challenge of the industry.