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FG to create 3.5m jobs in agric sector - Minister

26 September 2013, 18:35

Enugu - The Federal Government on Thursday said its Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) would  create more than 3.5 million jobs in the sector from the actualisation of commodity value chains.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, announced this in Enugu at the 4th National Agricultural Exhibition and Symposium organised by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA).

Adesina, represented by the South East Regional Director in the ministry, Dr Uche Nwafor, said that the Federal Government planned to inject over N60 billion into the economy.

He said that the government would also provide over N300 billion additional incomes to Nigerian farmers in the agricultural sector from the commodity value chains.

The minister said that government had leveraged over 8 billion dollars of private investment commitments through ATA.

According to the minister, government has potent policies and laws to reposition the agriculture sector.

“ATA is aimed at promoting a private sector driven commodity value chain mechanism to appropriately utilise agricultural resources in line with global trend.

“Through this, domestic food supply will increase by 20 million tonnes by 2015,’’ he said.

The Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, presented a paper titled: “Systematic Water Management for Sustainable Agricultural Development and Food Production in Nigeria.”

According to her, the ministry is determined to turn around the irrigation sub-sector by investing in infra structural development.

Ochekpe, represented by Dr Ben Aneke, Head of Department, Agro-Hydrology of the Anambra-Imo River Basin Authority, said that most dams which were constructed in the 80s, were under-utilised.

“It has been observed that irrigation projects have been bedevilled by defects and inadequacies in all stages of the projects, starting from the planning, design to the execution as well as operation and maintenance,’’ she said.

Gov. Sullivan Chime of Enugu State urged the Federal Government to set up an irrigation project to assist and service farmers in the state.

Chime, represented by his Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Mike Eneh, called on ECCIMA to partner with the state government to improve mechanised agriculture in the state.

Earlier, the President of ECCIMA, Dr Theo Okonkwo, appealed to banks to disburse credit facilities at lower interest rate to farmers, to enable them to work effectively.



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