Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government is targeting to create five million jobs with the the launch of ‘The Green Imperative’ agricultural mechanisation programme with a $1.1 billion loan from the Brazilian government.
The Green Imperative is a Brazil – Nigeria bilateral project conceived to enhance the agricultural sector through the provision of modern machineries/ implements.
The $1.1 billion partnership also include 10,000 tractors to be assembled in Nigeria, more than 707 centers to be established to train not less than 10,000 Nigerians.
This is coming as part of Federal Government’s plans to mitigate key agricultural gaps including the inability to meet domestic food requirements and Nigeria’s inability to satisfy growing export demands in terms of quantity and quality
The country is challenged by input system, hampered by farming models that are largely inefficient, poor seedlings, lack of adequate fertilizer input, poor irrigation system as well as absence of crop protection.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who launched the project Thursday at the State House Conference Center, Abuja, the ‘Green Imperative’ is aimed at boosting agricultural production in Nigeria.
Osinbajo described the project as “signature focused”, noting that “We cannot bring our nation out of poverty without investment in agriculture. Also the sheer number of young people coming of age will not only need to be fed but employed. They want dignified jobs with decent pay.”
The Vice President further described the ‘Green Imperative’, as a game changer, because with mechanised agriculture everything becomes different. “Today, we are producing paddy rice as much as we need because of mechanisation of agriculture. The only way to make the quantum leap required in our economy is what we are doing today with this project, the Green Imperative.”
Osinbajo added that “one of the reasons young people don’t warm up to agriculture is because it is not mechanised but that will change with this project.”
He added that with the Green Imperative, “We have made a significant difference in creating food sufficiency and decent jobs. We have ensured that this will be private sector driven.” The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, advises youths to seek another empire, to seek wealth through agriculture, adding that having another address other than politics as this will give them a voice in the society, adding that “With Brazilian support, we will get to where we want.
“Importation alone does not make a country great, production does. By importation we also imported poverty and unemployment but this administration is set to reverse all that. Work is prayer in action.”
Ogbe assured the Brazilian team that the environment would be friendly and welcoming, adding that, “There is nothing wrong in borrowing if you use it well, it is when you waste that you invite disaster.”