FG kick-starts $1.2bn agric programme, Green Imperative

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The Federal Government says with its $1.2bn ‘Green Imperative’ programme, the stage is now set for an agricultural revolution that will strengthen food security, create massive jobs and transfer technology.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this in Abuja on Thursday at a joint press conference with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono.

Mohammed said the programme, which would be implemented over a period of five to ten years, would inject $10bn into the nation’s economy and create five million jobs within 10 years.

He said the programme, jointly designed by Nigeria and Brazil, would revive many assembly plants, strengthen the economy, save scarce resources, mechanize farming and lead to the emergence of value-added agriculture.

He said the programme would be implemented with funding from the Development Bank of Brazil and the Deutsche Bank; with insurance provided by the Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit of the Islamic Development Bank.

The minister said the programme would be coordinated by Getúlio Vargas Foundation, a Nigeria-Brazil Bilateral Agriculture Development Programme.

He said the programme would reactivate six motor assembly plants in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for assembling tractors and other implements.

“The programme will import the Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts of about 5,000 tractors and numerous implements (for local assembly) annually for a period of 10 years”, he said.

According to him, 142 agro processing service centres for value addition, with one centre in each Senatorial District would be established through Green Imperative.

In addition, he said 632 mechanization service centres to support primary production in the 774 local government areas and the Federal Capital Territory would be established.

“This will create 774 service centres nationwide to mechanize our farming methods and process or add value to farm produce locally, leading to efficiency and eliminating post-harvest losses, thereby cutting down cost of food all year round”, he said.

Nanono noted that the programme, approved by the Federal Executive Council, would be private sector-driven as the government would only provide the policy framework.

Assuring that the programme would not be hijacked by politicians, 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.

Nanono expressed optimism that before the end of this year, the assembling plants in the six geo-political zones would be in shape.

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