Nigeria – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumni Adesina, in a Vanguard interview says the Jonathan-led administration has done a lot to improve the food situation in the country.
“We worked very hard and with the President’s big support to deliver. In four years, we added an additional 21 million metric tonnes of food to our domestic food supply. We created 3.5 million non-farm jobs in Nigeria, all the people that used to come from the north to go to Lagos to go Abuja to work as night guards, where are they today?
“They are not there anymore but happily working in the farm and earning real money. As a result of our strategies, our food import bill declined from N 3.1 trillion in 2011 all time peak down to N35 billion at the end of 2014, according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics.
“Again, look at what has happened today, despite the depreciation of the Naira and the falling oil price; you can hardly notice any significant increase in the prices of food. The International Monetary Fund, IMF, and others have continued to congratulate us on the effective management of our resources to produce abundant food to cope with the crisis arising from oil crisis.
“An IMF team came to us the other day and said that they were coming from Venezuela and that they saw that they were food riots everywhere but not in Nigeria and wondered how we did it.
“So the amount of food we produced created fiscal buffers for us to save us in these hard times and we can say with pride that agriculture saved Nigeria from food crisis.
“The other thing that we did was that we also got the banks to lend to the agriculture sector. I cannot forget the impact of the electronic wallet system to agriculture in Nigeria and it is something worth extending to all part of the world.
“With the introduction of the e-wallet, we ended corruption of over 40 years in the nation’s agric sector in just 90 days. Through the same scheme, we are giving our famers seeds and fertilizers by mobile phone thereby eliminating middlemen, corruption and ensuring transparency and accountability in the sector.