The Federal Government has launched a 20 million banana-planting project, expected to last for 12 months.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, recently, where he stressed that the project is expected to start very soon.
“We are looking at planting 20 million bananas in the next 12 months,” the minister reiterated.
He also said the delay in passage of the 2018 budget slowed down the pace of work, and promised to expedite action as soon as the money is made available.
“One of the major obstacles to some of these programmes is the budget circle. You may not believe it, but we are just about implementing the 2018 budget.
“The agric budget is not the fattest budget in our economy; we manage what we have,” he added.
The minister also noted that “the launching of cocoa will still take place in both Ondo and Cross River States respectively. We have new variety of cocoa which yielded in two and a half years, thanks to researchers in this country.
“The bags production has already started by the private sector in Kaduna State and more people are bringing machines from India and Bangladesh. We have to grow the kernel and another crop called the ceasar herm, not the intoxicating herm, to use in making jute bags,” he concluded.
On his part, Vice President, Agro Corporation, Nuradeen Usman, advised Nigerians to take advantage of the project to eke out a living rather than looking for the shortest means to travel out of the country in search of greener pastures which may not be available.
He added that “agriculture is the second largest employer of labour on earth. Over one billion people today are employed in agriculture. If we want to keep young people in Nigeria we have to make agriculture attractive.”