The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mahmood Abubakar, has said that with concerted efforts of Agro-preneurs, the agricultural sector will increase its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product from 23 per cent to 50 per cent in the next 10 years.
Dr Abubakar made this known at a Roundtable Discussion on Agro-preneurs Success Stories and Mentorship Clinic which is part of the activities to mark this year’s World Food Day celebration.
He said the government’s economic diversification policy to agriculture, as an alternative to oil and gas, and the investment of agro-preneurs projected Nigeria to become the largest producer of rice in Africa from 2019, the first in Cassava and Yam production globally.
He said the effort also made Nigeria to be ranked 14th in Maize production and 4th in Palm oil production and also made the country to have notable domestic brands in rice that are competing with foreign international brands.
He, therefore, said “with the concerted effort of Agro-preneurs I am very optimistic that the contribution of agriculture to the Nigerian economy will increase exponentially from 23 per cent to over 50 per cent in the next 10years. And that is how we will actualize the vision of President Buhari of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10years”.
The Minister said the objective of the celebration is to promote worldwide effective action to end hunger, malnutrition, and poverty and ensure that everyone at all times and places have physical and economic access to nutritious food.
He further stated that agriculture has a long-standing role in Nigeria’s economy with 70 per cent of the population is engaged in the sector.
“A recent survey by the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) indicates that the agricultural sector contributed 23.78 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), thus topping seven other sectors with the most contribution.
“The sector has the potential to be a key driver of growth, job and wealth creation given the country’s viable agro-ecological zones, youthful population and agro-industrial linkages, and to lift a sizable number of the population out of poverty.
“The 5.01 per cent of the 2nd quarter, 2021 GDP increase was possible due to the investments in food processing and manufacturing,” the Minister noted.
Dr Abubakar said the expectations from agriculture to drive the economy could only be achieved when entrepreneurs take deliberate actions to invest in different value chains.
“The potentials across crops, livestock, horticulture and fisheries sub-sectors are enormous. Therefore, it is the ingenuity of entrepreneurs like some of you here that would add value to our products and guarantee the revenue generation potentials of the sector,” he added.
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