President Muhammadu Buhari says his commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty is realisable with more synergy between the government and the people.
In a statement issued by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, Buhari said this on Monday, when he commissioned the first National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) Integrated Farm Estate in Suduje-Daura, Katsina.
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The president said the vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of the poverty cycle within ten years can be done by diversifying the economy with agriculture as the backbone.
He noted that reliance on oil had turned a drawback on the economy over the years, with unpredictable and fluctuating global prices that made it more difficult to plan budgets, implement, and measure outcomes effectively.
“I wish to restate my commitment that getting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty is realisable. The country is robustly blessed with good weather conditions, good soil, human and material capacity, and resilience to make a difference by all the hardworking youths,” he said.
“We can do it, and we will do it. No excuse will be good enough to remain a mono-economy with all the challenges in oil production and fluctuating global prices when we have vast opportunities in crop and livestock production.”
He also noted that countries place more emphasis on the economy’s competitive edge, saying Nigeria would always play a leading role in the agricultural sector, with the vastness in experience, crop cultivation, animal husbandry, and more recently, a rising youth interest.
“As the world becomes more globalised, countries will continue to draw from their competitive advantage to remain relevant,” the President added.
“My belief, and it is also shared by many Nigerians, is that our country has a special advantage in food and livestock productions that we must harness and promote to feed ourselves and build a firm structure for exportation.
“Our vision of a robust agricultural economy continues to provide amazing results. Across the country today, we are seeing rising public and private interests in agriculture, especially among the youth, and a steady migration from subsistence to commercial farming.
“With the support of public institutions, like the Central Bank and Bank of Agriculture, old tools are giving way to more mechanised styles of farming, credit lines are becoming more accessible, and farming is becoming more acceptable and fashionable. Indeed, we are witnessing a revolution in the agricultural sector.’’
He further stated that the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) was resuscitated to meet growing needs in the agricultural sector to explore available potentials of job opportunities, entrepreneurship and marketing, home and abroad.
The president directed all federal government institutions to work in synergy in lifting and diversifying the economy and give NALDA all the support it needs to expand the Integrated Farm Estate across the 109 senatorial zones.
In his remarks, Aminu Bello Masari, governor of Katsina state, thanked the president for the initiative of resuscitating NALDA, noting that agriculture had been the strength of the Nigerian economy until the 70s.