The Federal Government says it has obtained a 134 million dollar loan from the Africa Development Bank to boost wheat production.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Muhammad Mahmoud, disclosed this in Abuja.
Dr Mahmoud explained that the aim was to save the country from acute scarcity of the commodity, whose demand and price have gone high due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.
To attain the desired objectives, he said the Federal Government had deployed 5000 agro rangers, drawn from the Civil Defence Corps, to protect farms.
The Minister also hinted that 1.1 billion Naira had been set aside for agric-funding to create 3.6 million jobs.
Dr. Mahmoud said the government’s foresight in introducing measures to ward off the effects of Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict had paid off, stressing that despite such factors, which have slowed down global economy, Nigeria had not experienced food crisis.
The Minister noted that with 250,000 farmers cultivating 250,000 hectares in the 2022 dry season, the initiative would intensify wheat production to 750,000 metric tonnes in Jigawa, Kebbi, Kano, Bauchi, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara, Gombe, Plateau, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, and Taraba States.
He said 538 million dollars was approved for special agricultural processing zones to support inclusive and sustainable agricultural development, saying that another project worth $575m 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.
The participating states, according to him, are Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, and Sokoto.
Dr. Mahmoud said government was also implementing the Value Chain Development Programme Additional Financing, VCDPAD, 2020-2024 to sustainably enhance incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava.
He said the project was currently being implemented in nine states including Niger, Benue, Ogun, Ebonyi, Taraba and Anambra, Nasarawa, Kogi, and Enugu to scale up the achievement recorded in the original VCDPAD states.