President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday reiterated his administration’s commitment to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, saying it is achievable if there is synergy between the government and the people.
Speaking during the commissioning of the first National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) Integrated Farm Estate in Katsina, President Buhari 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 effectively plan budgets, implement and measure outcomes.
He said the mainstay of the Nigerian economy remains agriculture, where the country already commands a competitive advantage, with good weather conditions for crop and livestock farming, available manpower and willingness to learn new skills and good soil types for all-season farming.
“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,” Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
“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.”
While noting that more emphasis on the competitive edge of the economy for relevance in globalized world places, the President said 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 globalized, countries will continue to draw from their competitive advantage to remain relevant. 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 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 mechanized 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,” the President added.