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Agricultural progress in previous regime

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By Mercy Kelani

Buhari assured revival of agriculture & diversification of oil-based economy.

Between 2015 and 2022, the agricultural sector experienced progress, but there was no impact on availability of food in the country. Ex-president, Muhammadu Buhari, upon assumption of office in 2015, declared his interest in diversification of the oil-dominated economy by improving agricultural productivity, and ensuring supports for farmers. However, the newly elected president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said that there will be reduction of importation and increase in local agricultural production and farming. Buhari asserted his plan to eradicate unemployment and rebuild the interest of agricultural practice in Nigeria in his inaugural speech in 2015.

He added that unemployment was one of the cogent goals of the party’s manifesto. The goal was to tackle this challenge by reviving agriculture, consistent minerals mining and incentives for small and medium size businesses to begin their businesses. In his statement, he promised examinations of ways to enhance the revival of key industries and infrastructures such as roads, railway etc. Subsequently, Buhari stated that the National Social Investment Programme has developed a database of unemployed but qualified youths.

The Anchor Borrower Programme was launched during the administration.

Statistically, about 2 million Nigerians have received support under this project asides the Anchors Borrowers Programme and School Feeding initiative, each attaining two million recipients. Concerning food security, he explained that farmers have contributed immensely to the increment of local farm produces such as cassava, rice, poultry, fisheries, maize, fertilizer and sesame. In addition, he announced their firm support for private enterprises to increase export and backward integration. It was also stated that the ministry of agriculture, during Buhari’s tenure was under the management of three ministers, namely Audu Ogbeh, Sabo Nanono and Abubakar Muhammed.

In November 2015, Mr. Buhari commissioned the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) initiative under establishment by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The intention of the government was to enable a connection between companies – anchor – into processing and small holder farmers (SHF). The programme benefited smallholder farmers who cultivated cereals, roots and tubers, tree crops, tomato, cotton, sugarcane, legumes and livestock. Beneficiary farmers received loans through Deposit Money Banks (DMB), Microfinance Banks, and Development Finance Institutions.

4.8 million smallholder farmers benefitted from the initiative.

During the launching of rice pyramids produced by rice farmers who were beneficiary of the ABP initiative in 2022, Buhari stated that more than 4.8 million smallholder farmers have received financing from the initiative across the country to enhance local production of 23 agricultural commodities. Prior to the initiation of the ABP programme, the average rice production of Nigeria between 1999 and 2015 was below 4 million metric tonnes (mmt) per year. However, after the launch of ABP initiative, there was an increment of rice production from 3.9 in 2015 to 4.5 mmt in 2016.

Buhari’s eight years administration saw the average annual maize production remain at 11.7 mmt. While during the regime of presiding administration of former presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo, Musa Yar’Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan, the annual averages were respectively 5.5, 7.3 and 9.0 mmt. This shows that there has been consistent progress in the last two decades. This rate of production that improved between 2015 and 2022 as elevated the ranking of Nigeria in Africa and across the globe.

PFI was launched in 2017 to revive fertilizer blending plants.

Prior to Mr. Buhari’s regime, Nigeria was regarded as a net importer of fertilizers. However, in 2017 there was a change following the launch of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI). This was done in a bid to revive fertilizer blending plants in Nigeria so as to enhance local production, food production, and achievement of food security targets. This launch entailed agreements made by the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, and Buhari, one of which was a collaboration between the Fertilizer producers and Supplies of Nigeria and OCP.

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