The Federal Government said on Thursday that Nigeria was targeting over $600m from its resumed export of Hibiscus flowers (Zoborodo) to Mexico.
Mohammed Abubakar, minister of agriculture and rural development, while speaking at a presidential media briefing in Abuja, said 15 containers of the natural product valued at $35m were already on their way to Mexico.
He recalled that the product which Nigerians were initially exporting to Mexico was stopped due to trade disputes. According to him, “the Mexican ambassador was in my office recently and we resolved all the issues around the product export. So, we have resumed the export of Hibiscus flower to Mexico
The minister also revealed that Nigeria’s strategic food reserve now stands at 60,000MT of assorted food, in over 17 silos under concession located in various part of the country
On jobs creation, Abubakar said about 3.6 million indirect jobs have been created from $1.113 billion (about N461.9bn) worth of externally funded projects being implemented by the present administration.
“The government is currently distributing 40,000MT of assorted food commodities approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to vulnerable populace, IDPs, through various groups, across the country.
“Under the strategic food security programmes, the minister said the construction of 100,000MT silo project is nearing completion in Ado Ekiti while another 25,000MT silos will soon be completed at Igbariam, in Anambra State.
He said $538 million was approved for special agricultural processing zones to support inclusive and sustainable agricultural development in Nigeria.
According to him, another project worth $575 million 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.
He listed the participating states as Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau and Sokoto. The minister noted that government is also implementing the Value Chain Development Programme
Additional Financing (VCDP-AF) 2020- 2024 to enhance, on a sustainable basis, incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava.
He revealed that the project is 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 VCDP states.”
He assured that government commitment to developing the agricultural sector is not in doubt.
“Even though COVID-19, Russian-Ukraine war and insecurity in some parts of the country are posing a threat to the agricultural sector, the short-term mitigation measures and medium-term plans of the government are yielding the desired results.
He also disclosed that the ministry was adopting a multi-stakeholder approach in designing and implementing its mandate; with enhanced private sector involvement in agriculture and sustained efforts to reduce drudgery and enhance value addition. Nigeria can deepen the production of its basic food requirements and create more jobs in the process.
The success of any agricultural policy and interventions, however, rests on synergy among federal MDAs, and between federal, states and Local governments.
“Nigeria is not immune from the current situation in Europe. It is my hope that the recent agreement between UN, Turkey Russia, and Ukraine on the export of grains through the Black Sea Ports of Ukraine will lead to a drop in the price of grains in the international market, which will in turn ease the inflationary trend on the price of food in the country,” the minister said.