Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said the vision was to revive agric sector to boost food production in the country.
According to Ogbeh, the policy will serve as the new fulcrum for economic diversification, inclusive growth and sustainable development in agric sector.
“The launch of the ‘Green Alternative’ is an attestation that the change that the overwhelming majority of Nigerians canvassed for and openly welcomed by giving Muhammadu Buhari a resounding victory in the last presidential election is here.
In this policy, you will see us navigating through the agricultural terrain, trucking on virtually every aspect, we launched on the human element.
We will reflect on years of neglect where agriculture was seen as a refuge for the wretched and unsophisticated,” Ogbeh said.
The minister explained further that the emphasis on “Green” would capture the essence, spirit and orientation of the new policy/strategy document.
“The emphasis on green is deliberate; it is to underscore, not only the imperative of building a strong, vibrant and resilient economy, but also a green refreshing, generating, transformative-agriculture-led economy. It is to ensure mutual complementary between efficient, effective and productive agricultural production, system and processes on one hand and environmental sustainability,” Ogbeh said.
He stated that the policy had five major strategic driving forces namely: Achievement of self-sufficiency and sustainable food security; Reduction in import dependence and economic losses, particularly through value addition; Stimulation of agro-exports for enhanced foreign exchange earnings; Enhancement of wealth and job creation, especially provision of employment opportunities for the teeming youths; and Achievement of economic diversification to make the economy less oil-dependent was among the driving forces of the green policy.
Ogbeh said that through the policy, farmers would have access to land, soil fertility, information and knowledge, inputs, production management, storage, processing, marketing and trade, including access to finance.
Others are promoting agribusiness and ensuring investment development, institutional setting and roles, youth and women, infrastructure, research and innovation and nutrition security.
During the launch, the Vice President, who was the Special Guest of Honour said: “There is no question – if we get agric right we would get our economy right”.
Osinbajo added that the social investment programmes of the federal government are designed to align with the agricultural policy. “That is why our Home-grown school feeding programme is called ‘homegrown’,” he added.
Osinbajo said that the problem has never been the lack of policy, but lack of implementation. He commended the Agriculture Minister for not dismissing good policies of the past.
Kabir Ibrahim, President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), commended the ministry for the policy, saying it would go a long way in assisting farmers to boost productivity.
“The Nigerian farmers are seeking more availability of fertiliser, timely application of the research finding, adoption of good science and technology, provision of good seeds and small irrigation facility for all-year-round farming,” he said.
Ibrahim urged both states and local governments to key into the policy to enable the nation achieve self-reliance in food production.
Download the document HERE