To encourage farmers to produce more and ensure food sufficiency for Nigeria, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Monday that government would implement a buy back scheme to guarantee minimum price for agricultural products.
The Vice President was speaking in Abuja during the first policy dialogue session on the economy at the 22nd Nigeria Economic Summit (NES#22), which opened on Monday on the theme: “Made in Nigeria.”
The scheme, Mr. Osinbajo explained, would involve government buying up agricultural products by farmers and storing them for distribution to consumers at a time prices come down.
“During harvest when prices of products are low, farmers are not usually happy. Low prices will discourage them from engaging activities to produce more food. Now, what government wants to do is to buy up all the agricultural produce when prices are high and store them so that when prices are falling, it would be able to keep a very standard price for the farmers,” the VP said.
He said at the moment, the federal government was trying to resolve with the states on who would control the silos the products would be stored.
The Vice President said the state governments insisted they wanted to control and run the silos, rather than privatizing them, pointing out that since the federal government has the farmers, they should control the silos.
“We are working with the state governments to control some of the silos. The states are going to control the whole process, but the federal government is looking for intermediate buyers to buy and store. The states want the federal government to stay away so they can work directly with the private sector,” he stated.
He said disagreement has resulted in a change in the way things were going, saying although the Ministry of Agriculture was trying originally to privatize the silos, the states have insisted on taking over the process.
According to the states, it would be better for sub-nationals to handle the silos, since failure of the process at the centre would mean a complete loss, saying government believed apart from its commitment to its success, without the states, it plans for buy back would not work.
On competition for technology innovation involving about 4,000 young people in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, the vice president said government was training 65,000 young people in technology innovated businesses to create opportunities for young people.
He said by organising technology hubs in each of the six geo-political zones, apart from Lagos and Abuja, government was encouraging young people to go into technology.
“Look at animated cartoons alone, we are also training in animation”, he said.