By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said
the present administration’s agricultural revolution is not a mere
propaganda but a reality, with enough evidence to back it up.
According to a statement signed by his SA, Segun Adeyemi, made available on Tuesday, the Minister stated this at a banquet held in his honour in Birnin
Kebbi by the Kebbi State Government on Sunday night.
The Minister, who was in Kebbi State with over 30 journalists on a
tour of rice farms and other agricultural activities, said the fact
that Nigeria has been able to cut down on rice importation from
644,000 metric tonnes to about 22,000 metric tonnes within two years
is a clear demonstration that the agricultural revolution is working.
“We brought the media here today to let the world know that when we
talk about agricultural revolution, it’s not about propaganda, it’s
about reality, it’s about saying that Mr. President’s vision that
agriculture is the only way out is absolutely correct.
“The fact that the state today has grown from a meagre 2.5 metric
tonnes of rice per hectare to as much as 10 or 11 metric tonnes from
one hectare, I think it speaks louder than any propaganda you can
think of,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed challenged the media to investigate and understand how
the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Federal Government is actually
supporting farmers to increase their yields.
He said from the support of about N200,000 given to farmers per
hectare of rice in form of inputs, improved seedling, water-pumps and
extension services, they have been able to realise between N800,000
and N1.2 million as return on investment.
“This is not just about revolution, it’s about poverty reduction, it’s
about inclusiveness in governance,” the Minister said.
Alhaji Mohammed said with less than N100 billion spent on the Anchor
Borrowers’ Programme across the country so far, Nigeria is on the
verge of exiting rice importation, with the establishment of more rice
mills in the country and the closure of 7 rice mills in Thailand.
“We need to invest more in agriculture because the returns are very
fast and are appreciable not just in terms of
of food sufficiency but also in terms of job creation and poverty
reduction,” he said.
In his remarks, the Kebbi State Governor, Senator Atiku Abubakar
Bagudu, said the state is succeeding in the agricultural revolution
because it has keyed into the vision of President Buhari.
“What we are celebrating in Kebbi is as a result of the campaign
promises of the All Progressives Congress to provide security, to
provide economic opportunities for all, to fight corruption and all of
these have been achieved quite significantly in Kebbi State, with the
support and leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and his very able
and capable Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,” he said.
The Governor recalled that the President launched the Anchor
Borrowers’ Programme in Kebbi State and that, so far, N54 billion has
been disbursed to 270,000 farmers in 31 states across the country.
He said the investment has triggered an unprecedented growth in
agriculture, which is partly responsible for the country’s exit from
Commissioners of key ministries in the state later took turns to brief
the Minister on their achievements.