About 2.4 million households are set to benefit from the Federal Government’s post COVID-19 stimulus package.
Dr. Andrew Kwasari, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on Sunday.
Kwasari said the stimulus package would be provided through the Agric for Food and Jobs Plan, under the Agricultural Sector of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan(NESP).
“The Economic Sustainability Committee needed to be very strategic in utilising the minimal resources, overall, not only for the agriculture sector. So for the Agric Sector, we decided that we will use this strategy to utilise available cash to work with financial institutions, led by the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
“To see how we can get stimulus packages to about a minimum of 2.4 million households or to fund 2.4 million hectares of land that will be cultivated during this 2020 wet and dry season farming,” he said.
Kwasari added that it was in a bid to answer the question – “What must Nigeria do to ensure food sufficiency in the wake of COVID-19?” that the agricultural sub-sector of NESC decided to clearly define and understand the global scenario of the pandemic.
“The Economic Sustainability Committee needed to be very strategic in utilising the minimal resources, overall, not only for the agriculture sector. The Nigerian economy was already disrupted; we had lost a large share of our GDP income which comes from oil. So with this reduced GDP, even if there is stable food systems supply, Nigeria may not be able to afford importation of food in order to feed over 200 million people.”
“Imagine then where we have both global food system disruption in productivity and output and the loss of national income from oil revenue losses. Then we are in a more dangerous situation,” he stated, adding that Nigeria opted for large scale food production to cushion the effects of COVID-19, due to dwindling resources.
“Nigeria has a plus in terms of a large population that can be channeled into food production, so we capitalised on it to grow food during this 2020 wet season and dry season farming,” he said.