Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, has praised Nigerian farmers over wealth creation and increased participation in pilgrimages under the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Lokpobiri also recently commended the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for injecting $500 million to support the nation’s agricultural value chain development. He made the assertion when Ndine Gbossa, IFAD’s new country representative, paid a visit to his office, reported The Guardian.
“We take our partnership with IFAD very seriously and we appreciate the investments and the support that we are getting from you,” Lokpobiri said.
He added that fund from the organization had helped Nigeria in becoming the highest producer of rice and cassava in Africa.
According to Lokpobiri, IFAD’s fund support in Nigeria’s agriculture sector has helped in farmers’ wealth creation. While wealth creation has increased in improving farmers’ monetary status, it has also a drastic to increase in Nigeria’s population, which has surpassed the United Nation’s projection. The UN estimated that Nigeria’s population would increase to 200 million by 2020, but, it has already hit the 200 million mark in 2018, two years ahead of 2020.
He added that following an increase in expendable incomes from agriculture, farmers in the country recorded the highest number of pilgrims that traveled to Mecca for hajj. The minister also disclosed that an average Nigerian farmer is now a millionaire, noting that in those days, people used to send money from the townships to their relatives in the rural areas, but currently, it is those in the villages that are sending money to their relatives in the townships.
IFAD’s new country representative, Ndine Gbossa, said Nigeria is one of the biggest investment countries for IFAD. She confirmed that IFAD has set aside another $100 million for investment in Nigeria in 2019 after the general election.