By Vincent Ufuoma
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has thanked God for giving Nigerian farmers abundant harvests and good rainy seasons in the past four years and said farmers are now among “very well-to-do” Nigerians.
In his goodwill message at the Farmers’ Day celebration held on Saturday in Obie, Rivers State, the president claimed Nigerian farmers have brought the country to food self-sufficiency by saving billions of dollars that would have been spent on food importation yearly.
He added that such funds “are now deployed to other developmental projects, particularly infrastructure.”
“As I have said on occasions in the past, what would we have done as a nation, if God had not been kind to us, giving us good and abundant rainy season and good harvests in the past four seasons?” he asked.
“As at 2015, our economy was in such perilous state, with oil prices crashing internationally, and so many challenges nationally and locally. In fact, our country was in a desperate state.
“We then decided to put the modest resources we had where our mouth was. We focused on agriculture, and God heard our prayers. And we got good returns from our investments.”
Buhari said farming has improved the social and economic status of millions of Nigerians.
“Farmers are now among very well to do Nigerians. They can cater for their families, meet other existential needs, and even embark on various capital projects,” he noted.
“Above all, farmers have led the country to the food self-sufficiency we now enjoy, saving us billions of dollars yearly, which would have been spent on food importation. Such funds are now deployed to other developmental projects, particularly infrastructure.”
The President said through the federal government’s agencies, such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, support has been given to farmers. He lauded farmers for responding positively to initiatives created “to empower and strengthen their hands.”
The Farmers’ Day Celebration is a yearly event organised by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company to promote food security and poverty alleviation in its host states the Niger Delta through the generation of employment and economic diversification.
Its aim is to showcase farming products and services, provide a platform for networking and exchange of ideas, and promote the company’s commitment to rural farming in areas of operation. This year, the event is themed ‘Farm and Fortune’.