Jonathan okays N26bn for 2015 dry season farming

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday announced the release of N26 billion for the 2015 dry season farming.

Jonathan, who spoke at the 2015 Agrifest held at the Eagle Square, Abuja, pledged the support of his administration to farmers.

The President used the event to highlight his administration’s successes in Agriculture.

Nigeria, he said, will not be held hostage by rice importers, adding that the country is working to attain self – sufficiency in rice production.

Jonathan said: “To further boost your efforts to produce more food for our nation, I am pleased to announce here today the release of N26billion naira towards the 2015 Dry Season Farming Programme.

“Nigeria our dear country will not be held hostage by rice importers. There will be no sacred cows under my watch. All those owing Nigeria on rice import duties must pay.”

The President said the private sector have put over N45 billion private investment in new oil palm plantation.

The investment, he said will allow farmers to cultivate 70,000 hectares of new plantations to allow Nigeria to become self-sufficient in palm oil production by 2016.

He said: “I am excited that today, Okomu, Presco, PZ – Wilmar and medium size oil palm estate operators such as Wilbahi are taking the lead in revamping our vast oil palm plantations.

”We will continue to support the revamping of our oil palm industry and support the private sector to build new refineries to process crude palm oil produced in Nigeria.”

Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said that government was supporting 27 Nagropreneur with N122 million take off grant to do their business.

The youths were given N5 million each under the Youth Empowerment in Agriculture Programme.

The minister added that the ministry will work closely with all states government to in other to ensure capacity building for youths.

Also, Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Okonjo – Iweala, said that many of the 1.2 million jobs created in 2014 were in the agriculture sector.

Dr. Iweala explained that without agriculture Nigeria cannot make much progress.

“Because of agriculture, inflation has reduced. We are showing that we can feed ourselves,” she said.

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