If not for Jonathan's intervention in agriculture, says PDP


President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday said that the timely intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan in agriculture had placed Nigeria on the sure path to food sufficiency, noting that, Jonathan’s intervention saved the agriculture sector.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, in statement in Abuja, said that the president had delivered and strategically re-engineered the sector, noting that, the effort had resulted in direct impact on the welfare of the citizens in line with the PDP manifesto.

He said that PDP had the avowed commitment to uplift the living standard of Nigerians. “In the last four years, the Jonathan administration repositioned agriculture from the traditional subsistence occupation to an investment-driven, wealth-creating sector that guarantees food security in the country.

“Under President Jonathan our country has through strategic partnership with the private sector expanded food production by an additional 21 million metric tonnes between 2011 and 2014,” Metuh said.

The record, PDP spokesman, added had exceeded the nation’s set target of 20 million metric tonnes set for 2015.

He said that between 2013 and July 2014, the nation’s food import bill declined by USD5.3 billion and still falling, even with the country`s increasing population.

Metuh said that in the period under review, additional nine million metric tonnes of food was produced while over 2.7 million farm jobs were created.

He expressed joy that with all these achievements, “Nigeria now ranks as one of the biggest food producers in Africa”.

He added that under the Jonathan administration, the country met its Millennium Development Goals on agriculture and food production, two years ahead of the 2015 target set by the United Nations.

This, it said, earned the country a special award by the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

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This feat, Metuh said, was achieved by meticulous implementation of deliberate policies that empowered millions of farmers and strategic investors with private sector investment, rising to about USD5.6 billion.

“For instance, encouraged by the Federal Government, the Dangote Group is investing USD1billion in commercial rice production and processing expected to raise Nigeria’s export capacity in the next five years.

“Other entrepreneurs, including foreign firms, are also investing in food production and processing, following the favourable business environment provided by the government.

The PDP spokesman further said that under the present administration, Nigerian farmers enjoyed bumper harvest as a result of benefits they derived from special intervention initiatives.

These initiatives include the Nigerian Seed Venture Capital Fund and the deregulation of fertiliser distribution, which he said, had guaranteed farmers direct access to fertiliser and other farm inputs.

“Today, under the e-wallet system, developed by the Jonathan administration, 14 million farmers access fertiliser directly using their mobile phones.

“Nigeria is recorded as the first country in the world with such innovation.”

This achievement, he said, was in addition to the Nagropreneurs Programme used by the government to encourage young graduates and students in post primary schools to actively participate in commercial agriculture.

He pledged that the PDP would ensure that their governments at all levels continue to pay greater attention to agriculture.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to massively vote for Jonathan in the Feb. 14 election and all other PDP candidates in the subsequent polls, to enable the government sustain its towering achievements in agriculture.