The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is moving Nigeria steadily towards self-sufficiency in food production in a way that has never been witnessed since independence. The APC Legacy Awareness and Campaign, a voluntary think-tank group of the governing party, notes with satisfaction the country’s steady progress in the administration’s efforts at positioning agriculture as the fulcrum of the country’s economic development.
Since 2015 when this administration took over, it has put no one in doubt of its determination to transform the agricultural sector as a major pillar of the country’s economy and a bold statement on its determined efforts at diversification.
The President’s agricultural revolution is underscored by several critical policies for the enhancement of growth and development. Such policies include the inauguration of the National Food Security Council (NFSC), Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), National Livestock Transformation Plan, the Anchors Borrowers Programme, and National Fertilizer Initiative (NFI). The details of these laudable programmes as provided below clearly show that Nigeria’s journey towards prosperity is already afoot.
National Food Security Council (NFSC): This Council, chaired by President Buhari, was inaugurated on March 26, 2018, to oversee the development andjimplementation of sustainable solutions to various issues impacting agricultural production in Nigeria, including farmers–herdsmen clashes, to climate change and desertification, oil spillage and its impact on fishing communities; piracy and banditry; smuggling, and others.
Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP): initiated under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), to achieve the following: • Expand existing production in the agricultural sector (yield per hectare); • Reduce post-harvest losses through access to storage and energy; • Stimulate the establishment of new farms in partnership with State Governments, private sector and individual citizens; and • Ensure guaranteed market for agricultural produce through a combination of private sector off-takers, commodity exchanges, a government buy-back scheme, and strategic reserve purchases.
The AFJP has so far registered and mapped about 6 million small-holder farmers to their farmlands across the country, using GIS coordinates, and has also commenced the analysis of tens of thousands of soil samples from farms, to guide local fertilizer blending.
National Livestock Transformation Plan: Aimed at accelerating the pace and scope of change in Nigeria’s livestock management system, and enhancing livestock production and productivity, by building a new ecosystem that represents a transition from nomadic livestock management practices to a more sedentary method designed to . The NLTP has been designed as a partnership between the Federal and State Governments, with the active involvement of the private sector, investors and international organisations. It will Attract investment, Create jobs, Help manage and reduce conflict, Unlock the full potential of Nigeria’s livestock industry, and Help Nigeria in the quest to achieve food security.
The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP): This programme, led and implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria, was launched by President Buhari on November 17, 2015, in Kebbi State. Since then, it has provided more than 300 billion Naira to more than 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities (including Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soy Beans, Groundnut, Fish), across Nigeria, successfully cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland, and helping agriculture enjoy the enviable feat of being the only sector of the Nigerian economy that has consistently posted positive growth rates since 2015.
The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI): Another flagship agriculture initiative of the Buhari Administration, the PFI was launched in December 2016 as a government-to-government partnership between the Governments of Nigeria and Morocco. Since inception it has produced and delivered to the Nigerian market, over 30 million 50kg bags equivalent of fertilizer, at reduced prices; and resulted in the revival or construction of no fewer than 40 moribund fertilizer blending plants across the country. That Nigeria today has 44 functioning blending plants, with more on the way, is solely due to the success of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI). In every part of the country, the President’s vision and strategy have been yielding results, since 2015.• In 2017, the multinational group Olam invested $150 million in an integrated animal feed mill, poultry breeding farms and hatchery in Kaduna State, as well as an integrated poultry and fish feed mill in Kwara State.• In Anambra State, the Coscharis Group began the cultivation of rice in 2016, on a 2,500 hectare farm, and soon after expanded into Milling, with the commissioning of a 40,000 MT modular Rice Mill in 2019,• In Niger State, the BUA Group is currently completing a $300million Integrated Facility comprising a Sugar Mill, Ethanol Plant, Sugar Refinery and Power Plant, and a 20,000-Hectare Farm.• In Kebbi State, GB Foods has invested 20 billion Naira in a Tomato Processing Factory supplied by what is said to be the single largest tomato farm in the country. Future phases of the investment will make it the largest processing facility for fresh tomatoes in sub-Saharan Africa.• The same GB Foods in July 2020 opened its N5.5 billion Mayonnaise production facility in Ogun State, which will be supplied with input from the company’s new farms in Kebbi State.• In Lagos, Ariel Foods FZE has recently constructed and completed the biggest Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) production facility in Africa.• In Nasarawa State, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has recently completed work on the first phase of a multi-million-dollar animal feed processing facility and a backward-integrated 3000-hectare Maize and Soyabeans Farm, in a co-investment partnership with a South African Investment Group.• In 2021, the Dangote Group commissioned its $2 billion Fertilizer Plant, with an annual capacity of 3 million Metric Tonnes, the largest fertilizer plant in West Africa. In June 2021, the plant began delivering an average of 120 trucks of Urea per week to the Nigerian market, and is also set to target the export market across West Africa and beyond.• State Governments are also actively keying into the President’s Agriculture vision. In 2018, Cross River commissioned a 3 billion Naira Hybrid Rice Seedlings Factory, to supply rice seedlings to farmers and governments across the country.• Lagos State is completing the 32 Metric Tonne per hour Imota Rice Mill, which, when functional, will be one of the largest rice processing facilities in sub-Saharan Africa. The Imota Rice Mill will produce 2.4 million bags of 50kg per annum, and create an estimated 250,000 direct and indirect jobs, and will plug Lagos State firmly into the national rice value chain.• Ekiti State is reviving its Ikun Dairy Farm, in a successful partnership with Promasidor, with a production target of 10,000 Liters of milk daily.• In Ondo State, the 9 billion Naira Sunshine Chocolate Factory – a Public Private Partnership involving the State Government – was completed and commissioned in 2020, to take advantage of the State’s leading position in the cultivation of cocoa.
Creation of an Enabling Environment: The President has pursued the realisation of this vision very resolutely, through a number of programs and initiatives, including the following. Actions aimed at improving access to finance and input for farmers and investors, as well as actively dis-incentivising the country’s historical penchant for imports at the expense of local productionhave been prioritised by the APC-led Federal Government.
All of the above are just a handful of dozens of success stories of agriculture investment by the public and private sectors across Nigeria, spurred by the President’s unwavering commitment to ensuring a sustainable agriculture revolution in Nigeria.
Other landmark Buhari Agriculture initiatives are also in the works, with the support of foreign governments and development partners. They include the Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme, which will establish agro-processing centres across all the 6 geo-political zones of the country; and the Green Imperative – a partnership between the Governments of Nigeria and Brazil to mechanize and modernize agricultural production in Nigeria, through the development of 632 privately-operated Mechanisation Service Centers and 142 Agro-processing Service Centres, the reactivation of 6 privately owned tractor assembly plants nationwide, and training of 100,000 new extension workers.
In the words of President Muhammadu Buhari, on December 14, 2016: “I will stand my ground and maintain my position that under my watch, [the] old Nigeria is slowly but surely disappearing and a new era is rising in which we grow what we eat and consume what we make.”
This is so far APC scorecard under the leadership of President Buhari. PDP and its leadership should present their comparative scorecards for sixteen (16) years between 1999 and 2015. APC is working to rebuild Nigeria after years of mismanagement and waste. President Buhari is laying solid and sustainable foundation for Nigeria’s greatness!
Barr. Ismail Ahmed
Mr. Lanre Issa-Onilu
Mr. Tolu Ogunlesi
Mr. Salihu Moh. Lukman
June 29, 2021