In continuation of its highlight of President Goodluck Jonathan’s achievements in the last six years, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the present administration’s unique intervention in agriculture has placed Nigeria on the sure path to food sufficiency, adding that the president has delivered in this critical sector.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh in a statement on Thursday, said President Jonathan has strategically re-engineered this sector that has direct impact on the welfare of the citizens in line with the manifesto of the PDP and its avowed commitment to uplifting the living standard of all Nigerians.
“In the last four years, the Jonathan administration repositioned agriculture from the traditional subsistence occupation to an investment-driven, wealth-creating sector that guarantees food security in the country.
“Under President Jonathan, our country has through strategic partnership with the private sector, expanded food production by an additional 21 million metric tons between 2011 and 2014, a record exceeding the nation’s set target of 20 million metric tons set for 2015.
“Between 2013 and July 2014, the nation’s food import bill declined by USD5.3 billion and still falling, even with our increasing population. Within the same period, additional 9 million metric tons of food has been produced, while over 2.7 million farm jobs have been created. With all these, Nigeria now ranks as one of the biggest food producers in Africa.
“Under President Jonathan, our country has met its Millennium Development Goal on agriculture and food production two years ahead of 2015 target set by the United Nations, thereby earning a special award by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
“This feat was achieved by meticulous implementation of deliberate policies that empowered millions of our farmers and strategic investors with private sector investment rising to about USD5.6billion”.
The ruling party cited the federal government’s encouragement, which it said led the Dangote Group to invest the whopping sum of $1 billion in commercial rice production and processing, which is expected to raise Nigeria’s export capacity in the next five years. Other entrepreneurs including foreign firms, it added, are also investing in food production and processing following the favourable business climate provided by the Jonathan administration.
“Under the present administration, Nigerian farmers enjoy bumper harvest as a result of benefits derived from special intervention initiatives such as the Nigerian Seed Venture Capital Fund as well as the deregulation of fertilizer distribution which has guaranteed direct access to fertilizers and other farm inputs by farmers.
“Today, under the e-wallet system developed by the Jonathan administration, 14 million farmers access fertilizers directly using their mobile phones. Nigeria is recorded as the first country in the world with such innovation. This is in addition to the Nagropreneurs Programme with which government is encouraging young graduates and students in Post Primary Schools to actively participate in commercial agriculture”, PDP said.
Pledging that it will ensure that its government at all levels continue to pay greater attention to agriculture, the PDP urged Nigerians to massively vote for President Jonathan and all its candidates in the February general elections so as to sustain its towering achievements in agriculture.