Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Bukar Tijani
The Federal Government has reiterated its determination to fully reposition the agricultural sector by creating enabling environment for different cooperative societies to boost the country's Gross Domestic.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Bukar Tijani, who dropped the hint during the 2012 International Year of Cooperatives in Sheda, Abuja, said the present administration was prepared to use cooperative societies in achieving rural savings, bumper harvest and additional employment for the youth.
Tijani, who said agriculture contributes 70 per cent of the country's workforce, disclosed that the ministry has embarked on a rejuvenation programme to “get all the data base of all cooperative societies in Nigeria and analyse them”.
“We now have the number of cooperative societies, their specialisation and other relevant data with a view to strengthening them for the development of agric sector and the economy in general.
“Through the data, it will not be difficult to assist the cooperative societies and it will enable the government to the volume of trade within and outside the country. As one of the five fastest growing economies in the world, government is poised to ensure its economic development and agriculture remains the highest employer of labour in the country”, he stressed.
Tijani added: "One of Mr President's Transformation Agenda is positioning and repositioning agriculture, not only as a sector that would feed Nigeria, but for the agric and cooperatives within them to contribute to the GDP by being one of the 20 highest GDP by year 2020”.
The minister maintained that agriculture provides 70 per cent of workforce in Nigeria and stands as the greatest employer of labour in Nigeria.
He listed lack of market, access to commercial credit, diversification to compete in the global market, and non investment in agriculture as some of the challenges facing cooperative societies in the country.
Tijani disclosed that the government was looking at ways of giving them credit facilities to revitalising and refocusing them to boost the nation’s economy, saying this was part of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
According to him, the National Council of Cooperatives (NCC) has achieved a lot in the country including the creation of rural savings for investment; assisting the farmers, processors and marketers to form formidable association, and formation of local and international partnerships to boost agriculture through cooperatives.
He mentioned FARO as one of the formidable cooperative unions which have helped tremendously in financing agricultural development through different groups like the farmers, processors and others.