by Leon Usigbe, Abuja
Saturday, 25 August 2012: PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, on Friday, assured that his administration was wholly committed to actualising its plans to positively transform Nigeria’s agricultural sector into a major wealth creator and source of employment for the nation’s youth.
Speaking at State House, Abuja in an audience comprising a delegation from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) led by its President, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, he said that the Federal Government was initiating and promoting reforms that would move Nigeria away from a preponderance of subsistence farming to the establishment of agriculture as a very viable modern-day business.
According to him, “we have a very large youthful population and to create enough jobs for them, we must develop agriculture, solid minerals and other sectors. Nigeria has a lot of untapped potentials for agricultural development. If we can reposition agriculture as a profitable and dignified profession, more of our young people will be encouraged to go that way.
“We are very focused in this regard and I am confident that we will achieve positive results,” the president assured.
While noting that the implementation of its agricultural value chain development programme was a very important component of the Federal Government’s plans to revolutionise agricultural production in Nigeria, President Jonathan thanked IFAD for supporting the programme with a $74-million virtually interest-free loan.
He praised Dr. Nwanze for his consistent support for agricultural development in Nigeria, saying that Nigeria was also proud of the good work the IFAD president was doing to promote self-sufficiency in food production globally.
In his remarks, Dr. Nwanze informed the president that IFAD had given loans and grants worth $225 million for agricultural development in Nigeria since 1985.
He promised that IFAD would continue to support efforts of the Jonathan administration to modernise agricultural production in Nigeria, saying that recent positive developments in the sector were a testimony to the president’s “commitment and dedication.”