Nigeria targets 3.5 mln farm jobs in 2015
ABUJA, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) — Nigeria is set to generate 3.5 million farm jobs in 2015, a proof that the ongoing transformation agenda in the agricultural sector of the economy could yield more fruitful results, president of the West African country Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday.
Noting so far 3 million jobs have been created in the sector, the Nigerian leader said agriculture will help the country cushion the effect of the fall in global crude oil price.
“The decline in the price of crude oil did not take us by surprise. For the past three years, we had been engaged on a carefully designed and implemented agricultural transformation agenda,” said Jonathan while launching the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program at the Nigerian capital Abuja.
He said the country saw production of 21 million metric tons of food in the past three years, and this have created a buffer and mitigated the impact of the devaluation on food prices.
According to the president, the gap between the farmers and government has been substantially bridged, as farmers across the country are being touched by the new drive for food production.
“Our food import bill declined from 1.1 trillion naira (5.9 billion U.S. dollars) in 2009 to 624 billion naira by December of 2013, and continues to decline. Our electronic wallet system, which allows us to reach farmers with subsidized seeds and fertilizers via mobile phones, has become the backbone of a more modern agricultural sector,” the Nigerian president said, adding more than 14 million farmers had received their subsidized farm inputs through the e-wallet system.
He said more than 5.6 billion dollars of new private sector investments have come into the agricultural sector, an indication that local and foreign businesses see the African nation’s agricultural sector as very viable for investments.
According to him, agriculture has become the new wealth sector for Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, which also expects an injection of 100 million dollars toward providing affordable long term financing for agribusiness.
The 100 million dollars will be deployed by the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria initiative, aimed at providing affordable long term financing to support the development of small and medium scale agribusinesses, Jonathan added. [SOURCE: GLOBAL POST]