Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abubakar has painted a good picture of how the government of President Muhammadu Buhari utilized the sum of $1.113 billion (about N461.9 billion) foreign loan to create 3.6 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.
The minister, who featured in the weekly Ministerial Media Briefing today, August 4, at the Presidential villa, Abuja, stressed that the ministry is pursuing aggressive agticultural programme with the externally funded projects.
According to him, $538 million was approved for special agricultural processing zones to support inclusive and sustainable agricultural development in Nigeria.
Mohammed Abubakar said that another project worth $575 million is being implemented to improve rural access and agricultural marketing in participating states while strengthening the financing institutional base for effective development, maintenance and management of rural roads network.
He gave the participating states as Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau and Sokoto.
The Minister said that the government is also implementing the Value Chain Development Programme Additional Financing (VCDP-AF) 2020- 2024 to enhance sustainability, incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava.
He said that the project is currently being implemented in nine states, including Niger, Benue, Ogun, Ebonyi, Taraba and Anambra, Nasarawa, Kogi and Enugu and aimed at scaling up the achievement recorded in the original VCDP states.
Responding to speculations of soaring food prices despite these spirited interventions of the government, Mohammed Abubakar said that such challenge is not peculiar to Nigeria, saying that it is a reflection of the global economic value chain system.
He said that Nigeria, being part of the international community, is exploring ways to manage the situation to suit its own peculiarities as a nation.