The Minister of state for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, said this at a meeting of the Joint Administrative Implementation Completion Review Committee in Abuja.
Lokpobiri, who was represented by his Senior Technical Adviser on Agribusiness, Mr Eniye Ambakederemo, said that one of the strategies included the formation of Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) in the ministry.
He said that monitoring the projects was in line with the Federal Government’s directive that all projects funded by development partners should be well coordinated and supervised for maximum documentation, accountability, transparency and probity.
The minister expressed regret that reports on past projects funded by development partners showed duplication of efforts, inefficiency in the utilization of resources and poor coordination.
He said that the duplications resulted in non-optimal impact of the interventions on the country’s agriculture sector.
Lokpobiri stressed that the country could not afford to borrow from development and donor partners and fail to utilize the resources effectively.
He underscored the need for the ministry to prioritize its borrowing plans and engage in activities that would result in import substitution of the country’s agricultural products.
Lokpobiri said: “Our aim is to redirect attention to agriculture in its entirety and empower our people in a productive and sustainable manner.
“This entails treating agriculture as a business to create wealth and provide employment, so as to take us from being an import-dependent country to a self-sufficient nation, with surplus for export to earn foreign exchange.’’
The minister listed some of agricultural projects funded by donor partners as the West African Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP), the Rural Finance Institution Building Project (RUFIN) and the Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP).