President Buhari says he’ll change Nigeria’s orientation towards agriculture.
President Muhammadu Buhari insists that Nigeria must deploy agriculture as its competitive advantage to build a more prosperous country.
The 78-year-old’s administration has for the past six years made diversification of the economy one of its key goals, achieving mixed results.
When he commissioned the first National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) Integrated Farm Estate in Suduje-Daura, Katsina State on Monday, July 19, 2021, the president said agriculture is the backbone of that diversification goal.
He noted that the nation’s reliance on oil has had terrible consequences on Nigeria’s economy, especially due to unpredictable and fluctuating global prices.
He said the volatility of the oil market has made it more difficult to effectively plan budgets, implement, and measure outcomes.
President Buhari said agriculture is a more stable mainstay of the Nigerian economy, and that it must be exploited to provide a boost for the nation.
“As the world becomes more globalised, countries will continue to draw from their competitive advantage to remain relevant.
“My belief, and it is also shared by many Nigerians, is that our country has a special advantage in food and livestock productions that we must harness and promote to feed ourselves, and build a firm structure for exportation.
“Our vision of a robust agricultural economy continues to provide amazing results.
“Across the country today, we are seeing rising public and private interests in agriculture, especially among the youth, and a steady migration from subsistence to commercial farming.”
Buhari’s faith in the nation’s agriculture sector is not a reflection of its current realities, as escalating insecurity in the most prominent farming communities have displaced many farmers, or made others reluctant to go to their farms.
The nation’s economy has also been badly-battered by two recessions under the current administration.
This has sunk millions of Nigerians into extreme poverty, with unemployment rate also skyrocketing to a record 33.3%, and food inflation hitting 21.83% last month.
Buhari said on Monday that his promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years remains very achievable.
He said this can be done by expanding the economy, with a particular focus on agriculture.
“The country is robustly blessed with good weather conditions, good soil, human and material capacity, and a resilience to make a difference by all the hardworking youths.
“We can do it, and we will do it,” he said.
The president said the integrated farm estate is a manifestation of his administration’s desire for Nigeria to be food sufficient and begin to earn more foreign income through agriculture.