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N777 Billion Gained From Intervention Programmes, Says Minister

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THE Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, has disclosed that Nigeria gained over N777 billion as income from various intervention programmes in the agricultural sector in 2014 budget fiscal year.

  Adesina made the disclosure Friday during an interactive session with members of the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Agriculture on the performance of the ministry’s budget in 2014, on Thursday, in Abuja.

  He noted that the money went to the rural economy of the nation as many local farmers benefitted from the interventions and were currently performing well in their farms.

  The minister, who also defended the ministry’s 2015 budget before the committee said a total of N12.82 billion would be used, adding that a crop insurance for farmers has been established in the country.

  He said: “The main economic value of all the interventions that were done on rice, maize, sorghum, wheat, soy beans, cassava and others added N777 billion worth of income back into our rural economy, adding that no fewer than five million farmers would benefit from the programme,” as it was intended to build the confidence of farmers and encourage more people to farm.

  Adeshina said that this has helped to create significant amount of wealth for our farmers in the country, explaining that about 21 million metric tonnes of food were added to the domestic food supply including rice to maize, cassava, sorghum, and soybeans.

  Adesina disclosed that the agriculture sector witnessed a revolution in maize in 2014 with 14.9 million metric tonnes production from nine million metric tonnes recorded in 2009.

  He said that wheat industry witnessed a revolution with new varieties that yielded an average of six tonnes per hectare of land with 240,000 metric tonnes produced in 2014 “on a 75,000-hectare.”

  He said that the ministry had also liberalised the insurance market and opened it up for private sector companies to invest in insuring farmers, adding that the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) had been completely revamped.

  In his remark, the chairman of the committee, Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP-Taraba South), said that the committee was satisfied with the budget implementation of the ministry. He, however, decried the level of funding from the Ministry of Finance to the ministry and called for more funding to it.



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