The federal government said it is aggressively implementing its Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) to grow income generated from the current level of $99 billion to $300bn by 2030.
Speaking at the first International Microfinance investors' conference of the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme (RUFIN) in Abuja on Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said government has made this a focal target that must be realized.
He said the target seeks to ensure additional 20 million metric ton of domestic food production in four years, make the nation self sufficient in rice production by 2015 as well as reduce the level of importation of wheat by 40 percent.
According to him, substituting 40 percent of wheat used in baking and other confectionery with 40 percent high quality cassava bread will create 3.5 million jobs.
"To do this, we have repositioned agriculture away from farming to agriculture as a business.
"We are aggressively implementing our Agricultural Transformation Action Plan (ATAP), with specific focus to agricultural value chains for rice, cassava, sorghum, maize and soybeans, cotton, cocoa and oil-palm, as well as fisheries, aquaculture and livestock production," he said.
Country Programme Manager of the International Food and Agricultural Development (IFAD), Atsuko Toda, said access to finance by rural dwellers plays a central role to realizing the agricultural transformation agenda.
"Small holder farmers need the same opportunities as other business people to grow their enterprises, including access to microfinance," she said.
She called on stakeholders to ensure that finance is made available to rural farmers through the finance institutions because farmers need credit to adopt new technologies which can grow the value chains and create employment opportunities.