A total sum of N14 billion has been approved by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in support of dry season farming for the year, 2014, is expected to boost agriculture produce in Nigeria, reports NaijaAgroNet on Monday.
NaijaAgroNet recalls that in 2013, an estimated sum of N9m was approved for the dry season farming and in continuation, this has been jacked up to N14bn, even as it’s anticipated that more farmers would embrace the model.
In his address at the formal launch of the Dry Season Farm Support Programme (DSFSP), President Jonathan noted that his administration would ensure that the programme in Nigeria is sustained so as become a national food policy.
"Our resolve to expand this dry season programme is strong and subsequently it has to come up in October so that the farmers will get what they need before the commencement of the dry season,” he declared, stressing that in order to demonstrate this, “I am today announcing N14 billion to support dry seasoning farming for 2014 season. Last year it was N9 billion, this year is 14 billion and as more states come on board we will continue to increase the amount of money.”
President Jonathan reiterated the commitment of his administration on agriculture, saying "We I'll continue to work with farmers and that is why I am announcing today that the support will become a national policy. Our nation shall be green, our barns shall be filled and our farmers shall prosper," he prayed.
Pointing out that the launch in January is late, hence he advised the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to ensure the rescheduling of this launch to last quarter of the year such as in the month of October or November.
He recalls that the programme was launched in 2011 with the goal of creating additional 20 million metric tonnes of food into the country's domestic food supply to change the approach to agriculture.
As a nation, he said, Nigeria, must be able to feed the citizenry, noting that “A giant that cannot feed herself of course the weight of the giant will crush the weak legs if there is no food."
He emphasised that Nigeria did not suffer from food crisis in the last few years, because contrary to critics, he Growth Enhancement Programme (GES) had already reached about 1 million genuine farmers, who already harvested their crops before the 2012 floods.
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Pix: President Jonathan