The President Muhammadu Buhari’s agriculture revolution programme, tagged: “The Green Imperative,” will create about five million jobs and inject over $10 billion (about N3.8 trillion) into the economy within 10 years.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at a media briefing to set the stage for the implementation of the mechanised farming programme.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the briefing was jointly addressed by Mohammed and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono.
Mohammed said The Green Imperative, a Nigeria-Brazil bilateral agriculture development programme, was worth $1.2 billion and would be implemented over a period of five years to 10 years.
He said funding for the programme would come from the Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) and Deutsche Bank.
The minister added that insurance was 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 (FGV).
Explaining how the programme would revolutionise agriculture, the minister said six motor assembly plants would be reactivated in the six geopolitical zones of the country for assembling of tractors and other implements.
He said the Completely Knocked Down 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 142 agro processing service centres would be established for value addition, with one centre in each senatorial district.
He said 632 mechanisation service centres would also be established to support primary production in the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal Capital Territory.
He said: “This will create 774 service centers 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.”
Mohammed disclosed that private sector operators would operate and manage all the service centres and the assembly plants.
He said no fewer than 100,000 extension workers would be trained within three years and the programme would impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically.
The minister said the programme would revitalise research and extension service delivery through a five-year technology-package transfer component.
He said the benefits would also include the transfer of technology from Brazil’s manufacturers and institutions to Nigeria.
The minister said The Green Imperative dated back to June 6, 2016 when the country decided to enrol in Brazil’s Government-to-Government More Food International Programme (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.
Mohammed said: “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.”
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 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 said.
The minister said 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.