Nigeria's Head of State, Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo has launched a campaign entitled "Operation Feed the Nation", designed to boost the country's food production.
GV Lagos skyline
CU Posters advertising agriculture (2 shots)
GV Maize farm with workers hoeing
MV Workers with General Obasanjo in middle of three, watched by crowd (2 shots)
CU General working PULL BACK TO MV, watched by crowd (2 shots)
GV & CU General digging (2 shots)
MV General feeding chickens and collecting eggs, watched by other army officers (3 shots)
GV General making speech
This film is serviced with English speech by Lieutenant-General Obsanjo. A transcript appears below:
OBASANJO: "What I have done today in may own backyard should therefore serve as symbol of what all Nigerians from all walks of life should be doing at this time of the year: grow more food and make 'Operation Feed the Nation' a successful operation. Thank you very much."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Nigeria's Head of State, Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo has launched a campaign entitled "Operation Feed the Nation", designed to boost the country's food production.
He worked in the fields with farmers on Friday (21 May) and said the programme was in essence, an emergency operation.
In 1971 the government commissioned a through investigation into agriculture and discovered that if the pace of food production continued at its present level, Nigeria's food requirements would exceed its output by 16 million metric tonnes by 1985.
Agriculture had previously been sidetracked in a preoccupation with potential oil riches. Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer.
The government plans to import a large quantity of maize to provide feed for livestock and will be announcing a guaranteed minimum price for maize, guinea corn, beans, rice, gari and yams to protect the farmer form seasonal fluctuations.
Lieutenant-General Obasanjo has emphasised that the project must involve all Nigerians. In a speech he appealed to individuals who have access to any land to start farming. He asked farmers to put aside an extra hectare for cultivation.
The government intends to make thousands of tonnes of fertiliser available to all state governments for distribution to farmers and arrangements are underway to improve the quality and quantity of seeds.
"Operation Feed the Nation" is being run in conjunction with the country's five-year economic development plan, which concentrates particularly on agriculture.