The Federal Government has tasked states across the federation to leverage the potentials of the agriculture value chain as a means for the nation’s economic recovery, post-COVID-19.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Ikanade Agba made the call at a Community of Practice (CoP) meeting for all state Commissioners for budget and economic planning in Taraba State.
The meeting was themed “Beyond Oil: Optimizing agro-value chain for economic prosperity at the national and sub-national levels”.
According to Agba, the FG’s zero-oil economy initiative which is being developed would unlock the potentials of each state in the development and promotion of at least one crop for export.
He said, “The agricultural sector has greater potential to address the nation’s problems of unemployment, acute poverty, and hunger, hence, the reason why the Federal Government has committed many resources to revamp the sector.
“The ongoing Zero-Oil Economy plan puts credence to this assertion. The Zero-Oil Economy Plan when finalized would be adopted as a national Agenda to further diversify Nigeria’s export away from crude oil.
“The plan amongst others is to add at least US$150 Billion to the country’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non-oil exports over the next ten years; create at least 500,000 additional export linked jobs annually due principally to increase in productive export activities; lift at least ten million Nigerians out of poverty and empower each State and its people by integrating them into the export value chain”.
Agba also noted that the over-dependence on oil and the dwindling global oil prices has adversely affected the nation’s economy, in no small measure.
He, therefore, advised that the states seek means of economic diversification, particularly through agriculture.
The minister restated the Federal Government’s commitment to agricultural transformation as is evident in the recent construction of 347km rural roads connecting 266 communities nationwide.
This, he said, would reduce post-harvest losses, rural-urban migration and ease access to markets.
He added that road construction would tackle the issue of insecurity, reduce product cost, and encourage the influx of agro-processing and storage industries.