By Modupe Gbadeyanka
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to give more attention to agriculture next year in line with his economic diversification plan.
Mr Buhari stated that his administration will do this by sustaining concrete measures by devoting more resources to the sector in the 2017 budget.
“This year, in Nigeria, we started an aggressive farming programme that entails organising farmers into cooperatives in the second and third tier of government.
“We intend to put more resources in our 2017 budget, especially in the procurement of machinery for land clearing, fertilizers, pesticides and training of less-educated farmers, as farm extension instructors.
“We have already registered some success this year in a number of states, we identified some 13 states that will be self-sufficient in rice, wheat and grains before the end of 2018.
“We are very positive that soon we will be able to export these food products. We are also lucky that the farming season in the northern part of the country has been very good and we are expecting a bumper harvest this year,” the President told reporters in Nairobi, Kenya at the weekend, where he is attending the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI).
On his expectation for TICAD, President Buhari said Japan’s story of rapid economic growth, hardwork and advanced technology should encourage Africans to strive harder and solve its development challenges.
“Japan has greatly advanced in technology, particularly in solar power, infrastructure to spur growth in medium and small-scale industries.
“Because of the advanced use of technology, farming and agriculture can become competitive.
“Japan has the knowledge, technology and capital to assist African countries to develop and Japanese firms are in a very good position to successfully compete for the development of infrastructure in Nigeria,” he said.