The federal government has launched the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan (AFJP) programme targeted at about 1,100,000 smallholder farmers across the country.
AFJP is expected to create between five million and 10 million jobs in 12 months and also mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic by creating more access to food production, processing and distribution in Nigeria.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono stated this during the official launch of AFJP in Funtua, Katsina State.
Nanono, said AFJP would aid the transformation of the Nigerian agriculture from its largely low yielding and subsistent state to a high yielding technology based farming system.
He also said the strategies as part of the Nigeria Economic and Sustainability Plan (NESP) would generate appropriate gains consistent with the federal government’s policy.
He noted the plan was also in tandem with the three pronged action plan of the Ministry to deal with the impact of the pandemic on Nigerian agriculture and farmers.
According to him, “these measures include among others, the life-saving humanitarian assistance to vulnerable households to buffer the impact of COVID-19, such as the release of about 100,000 metric tons of assorted food commodities from the National Food Reserve to several groups and communities.”
He explained that the deliverables of the AFJP as contained in the NESP in 12 months includes, “creation of between 5- 10 million jobs in the agric sector, produce about 10,000,000 MT of food, cultivate between 20,000 – 100,000 hectares of land per state based on land availability to an aggregate of 2.4 million farmers tied to farmlands, input financing loan to farmers will be zero interest, land clearing and preparation support, among others.
However, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, stressed that the agric sector is the bedrock of the economy and appreciated the efforts of the federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for his policies in the agric sector.
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Agric Production Services, Hon. Muntari Danduste, said the policy would cushion the effects of the pandemic on 2020 farming season in the state and the nation.