May 10 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria is targeting $10 billion of investment in farming to boost domestic food production by 2015, as Africa’s most-populous nation seeks to reduce a reliance on imports, Agriculture Minister Akinwunmi Adesina said.
The government is working with the central bank to “unlock” $3.5 billion in funding from commercial banks for farmers, Adesina said in an interview today in Cape Town. So far, $8 billion in private investment commitments in agriculture have been arranged by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, he said.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is trying to reverse a decline in its farming industry. The nation of more than 160 million people plans to boost food supply by 20 million metric tons by 2015. While Nigeria grew enough food to feed itself in the 1960s, it is now the world’s largest importer of rice and sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest importer of wheat and sugar.
Food production rose by about 8 million tons in 2012, about 40 percent of the four-year objective, “which was 70 percent above the target that we set for ourselves last year,” Adesina said.
Nigeria expects to produce more than the 3.2 million tons of rice it needs to become self-sufficient by next year, Adesina said. The country exported 3 million tons of dry cassava chips last year, exceeding a target to export 900,000 metric tons to China by 2015, he said.
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