The budding Nigerian agricultural sector raked in a total of around $6 billion across its various segments , riding on the back of an aggressively implemented import substitution initiative, in the past three years. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, told THISDAY that the ongoing implementation of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) in just over 36 months has attracted both foreign and indigenous investment into agricultural input production, primary agricultural production, agricultural processing and agricultural storage activities.
Highlighting the various segments of the agric sector that have received sizeable fund injection, Adesina noted that in the fertiliser sector, an investment of over $500 million had attracted into the sector in the past three years. As for the seed production industry, Adesina stressed that there had been a big leap with investment in the sector rising from $10 million to $53 million in three years. The poultry sector was said to have grown by $55 million; oil palm sector injected over $1 billion and rice sector, almost $3 billion.
The federal government also explained how it ended the widespread fertiliser scam, which had plagued the nation’s agriculture sector for four decades in just three months, redirecting farming subsidies back to the actual farmers after 40 years of corruption that became institutionalised in the sector. Until around 2011 when the transformation in the nation’s fertiliser business began to take effect, political patronage seekers across the three tiers of government waited eagerly for the announcement of the federal government’s annual budget for fertilizer, which had become a slush fund of sorts and a relatively easy channel through which public fund was diverted.
Speaking during a live public affairs programme organised by the presidency and monitored on Channels Television by THISDAY, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. AkinwumiAdesina, said, it took the federal government just 90 days to end the fertiliser perfidy. According to Adesina, the scam, which cost the federal government about N776 billion, came to an end due to the sheer resolve of the Jonathan’s administration to ensure that the resources earmarked for the transformation of the fortunes of the Nigerian farmers actually got to them.