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It might just be time for N-Power beneficiaries to go into farming as the Federal Government budgets NGN600 billion for farmers and individuals interested in the farming business, in its bid to support farmers' contribution to the Nigerian economy.
It was gathered that about 2.4 million farmers across Nigeria will benefit from the NGN600 billion budget, this was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, "The gesture will support farmers in the country to improve their productivity aimed at boosting the country’s agricultural sector," he said.
Nanono further stated that “The support was to complement the federal government policy on agriculture, which includes promoting food security, improving farmers production and also increasing exportation,” Nanono said while speaking at an event to commemorate 2020 World Food Day.
The NGN600 billion, which is from the Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS), will serve as a loan to farmers, and it will be offered at zero interest rate. This comes at a period when the government is urging Nigerians to go into farming.
Since his emergence as Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari has continued to roll out fund support for farmers, advising Nigerians to go into farming to reap the benefit of his government's work. Private workers and N-Power beneficiaries can take advantage of this financial support channel, as It had been stated that farming shouldn't be left to the uneducated alone.
The government plans to ban milk importation by 2022, but before then, Nigeria needs to be self-sufficient. And the best way to do that is for more individuals to go into farmings.
Aside from providing financial support, the government is also rolling out policies to encourage farmers.
While the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has restricted foreign exchange for milk and cassava products, about $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion is spent annually to import milk and other dairy products. So, in order to put an end to Nigeria's dependence on foreign milk, the government aims at banning the importation of milk completely in the next two years.
Nanono said logistics has made it impossible to ban milk importation now, but the government is working towards the chain, to ensure the resources for milk production are available, “We are planning in this ministry and watch my words, in the next two years we will ban the importation of milk into this country.
"And ask me why: we have 25 million cows in this country to produce five million litres per day, ” he said, adding that, "The issue is now logistics, which we have started by setting up milk processing plants across the country. I see no reason why we should import milk in the next two years. We should stop the importation of milk”
Aside from the restriction on foreign exchange for milk importation, the CBN also listed over 40 food items that are banned from receiving forex for importation into Nigeria. The CBN said it won't provide dollars or forex for any individual or company in need of forex to import food items that can be produced or are being produced in Nigeria.
This is to protect Nigerian farmers from foreign goods saturating the Nigerian market, and an encouragement to individuals to invest in the Nigerian farming business, with the assurance of government support.
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