Temitope Fadeshemi, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security said 88.4 million people in Nigeria are living in extreme poverty.
Fadeshemi spoke on Wednesday in Kaduna during the distribution of farm inputs and empowerment materials to 250 smallholder farmers.
The Permanent Secretary, represented by Bashir Abdulkadir, Director, Department of Extension Services of the ministry, lamented that the level of poverty is alarming and emphasized on the Federal Government’s effort towards arresting the situation.
”The level of poverty in Nigeria is alarming. An estimated population of 88.4 million people in Nigeria is living in extreme poverty. The number of men living on less than 1.90 U.S. dollars a day in the country reached around 44.7 million, while the count was at 43.7 million for women. In 2022, Nigeria accounted to 12.9 per cent of the global population in extreme poverty.
”This is why the Federal government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning in collaboration with FMAFS is making conscious efforts at reducing the spate of poverty across the country.”
According to Fadeshemi, the event marked a significant milestone in the Federal Government’s collective commitment to uplifting the lives of smallholder farmers and fostering sustainable agricultural practices.
He added, ”I am delighted to remind you that NPRGS, in collaboration with the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension Service (FDAE), has diligently enumerated and validated approximately 250 farmers for participation in this transformative programme.
”These farmers are not just the backbone of our agricultural sector; they are the heartbeat that forms the heartbeat of our nation’s prosperity. The NPRGS reflects our government’s dedication to addressing poverty at its roots, emphasizing the pivotal role agriculture plays in economic growth and development.
”Through initiatives like today’s training and empowerment programme, we are sowing the seeds of positive change, ensuring that smallholder farmers have the knowledge, resources, and support needed to thrive in an ever-evolving agricultural landscape.”
Fadeshemi said that the programme was not merely an investment in agriculture; but an investment in the future of the nation. ”As we equip these farmers with the tools to enhance productivity, improve resilience, and embrace sustainable practices, we are laying the foundation for a more resilient and prosperous agricultural sector.
”I commend the efforts of the FDAE for their meticulous work in identifying and validating deserving farmers for this programme. The collaboration between our Ministry and the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) exemplifies the power of synergy in achieving meaningful impact.
”To the participating farmers, I say this: your role is paramount in shaping the trajectory of our nation’s agricultural success. As you undergo this training and empowerment journey, absorb the knowledge, hone your skills, and apply the insights gained to elevate your farms and communities.”
According to the permanent secretary, the success of the farmers is a major driving force of the the nation’s prosperity, adding ” Together, we shall create a ripple effect that reaches every corner of our beloved country.
”It is my hope that this program may be the catalyst for a brighter, more bountiful future for all,” he added.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) extended the gesture to the farmers.
Nigeria’s Economic Overview
Between 2000 and 2014, Nigeria experienced robust economic growth averaging over 7% annually, thanks to favourable global conditions and structural reforms.
However, from 2015 to 2022, growth rates declined, and GDP per capita stagnated due to various factors including policy distortions, fiscal deficits, trade protectionism, and external shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic.
High inflation rates, reaching a 17-year high of 25.8% in August 2023, coupled with sluggish growth, exacerbated poverty levels.
With a change in administration in May 2023, Nigeria has a crucial opportunity to restore sustainable growth. The new government has initiated key reforms to achieve macroeconomic stability by removing the gasoline subsidy and liberalizing the exchange rate.
These reforms, along with favourable global oil prices, are expected to ease fiscal pressures and address past macroeconomic distortions. The economy is projected to grow at an average of 3.4% between 2023 and 2025, driven by reforms, sectoral recoveries, and increased government spending.
In addition, there are significant downside risks, including the potential reversal of reforms, domestic and regional instability, and climate change impacts.
Sustained reform efforts, coupled with improvements in security, public services, and the business environment, could stimulate investments and productivity, paving the way for Nigeria’s return to high growth.