FG Aims for 10 Million Jobs through Dry Season Farming

The Federal Government has set its sights on creating 5-10 million jobs across Nigeria through dry season farming in 2024, according to announcements made during the 30th regular meeting of the National Council on Water Resources and Sanitation in Abuja.

A recent report by The PUNCH highlighted the optimism among farmers and agro-dealers regarding potential drops in food prices due to extensive cultivation efforts supported by the government. The National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-Pocket Project, initiated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in January 2024, indicated significant cultivation of wheat, rice, maize, and cassava across the country.

During the National Council on Water Resources meeting, Shehu Aliyu, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, unveiled three flagship programs aimed at driving successful dry season farming and generating millions of jobs. These programs include the Water for Expanded Irrigated Agriculture Programme, Partnership for Expanded Irrigation Programme, and River Basin Strategy for Poverty Alleviation.

The government had already launched dry season farming covering 120,000 hectares of land in Jigawa State in collaboration with the state government under the National Wheat Development Programme. Aliyu emphasized the importance of other River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) following suit to maximize the impact of these interventions.

Aliyu projected that these initiatives would create between five to ten million jobs within the agricultural value chain, aligning with the government’s objectives of boosting food security and economic growth.

Additionally, the declaration of a state of emergency on food security underscored the need for collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to ensure adequate irrigation and year-round food production. Security measures to protect farmers and farmlands were also highlighted as crucial components of this declaration.

Meanwhile, state governors, including Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara, emphasized the importance of increasing crop production to achieve food security. Abdulrazaq stressed the need for more effective programs than the previous Anchor Borrowers Programme, urging the agriculture minister to focus on meeting food targets and improving yields for the benefit of Nigerians.

The efforts to bolster dry season farming and enhance food security come amid concerns about rising food prices and living costs, with recent protests in Niger State underscoring the challenges faced by many Nigerians.

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