By John Oba Abuja
Th e Alliance for Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA) has stated that part of it four year goals is to double the income of 9 million rural Nigerians farmers, saying $30 million has been set aside to support them. Th e Nigeria team leader and programme offi cer, Dr. Kehinde Makinde, stated this on Wednesday at a validation workshop, organized by the organisation in partnership with Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), in Abuja.
Makinde said his organisation has committed about $50 million in investment to agriculture in African and is working strategically with other partners to lift 30 million small holder farmers from poverty within the four years in Nigeria and other African countries. He stated that the strategy to realize this milestone will include strong partnership with the Federal Government as well as building capacity of major stakeholders.
Makinde disclosed that the organization had completed plans to commence the pilot project in Niger and Kaduna States with specifi c focus on maize, rice and cassava as part of their interventions to achieve the milestone. “In Nigeria, our business plan has committed us to spend $30 million for agriculture in the next four years. At local level, we are working on agricultural value chains so that they can become more effi cient and are able to deliver more income for farmers. In Nigeria, we are looking at rice, maize and cassava.
We have selected two states where we will roll out our interventions. Th ese are Kaduna and Niger States. From there we will expand,” Makinde said. He unveiled plans by AGRA to provide grants to the private sector involved in agribusiness and agro-allied activities, stressing that the meeting was a to validate stakeholders input on seed .
“For AGRA, we are working to lift 30 million small other farmers across Africa from poverty. We are looking to double their income. Th is is critical for us because we are working across in 11 countries in Africa to ensure they achieve agricultural transformation.
Th is is to ensure Africa is able to feed itself. “We are working with partners such as agro-dealers, input suppliers even the governments at the federal levels to develop the agriculture sector. In order to ensure proper coordination agriculture will be treated as a business rather than a programme. “We have supported public institution and worked with the private sectors. So we thought if we can work with the private sectors, we will have all the outputs we want but not the transformation we aspired.
“Th us, government should take the lead. So we want to better support government to get the appropriate leadership to develop the sector. Th is country engagement has become critical. “Th ere are catalytic interventions across the value-chains that will enable us facilitate more income for farmers,” he added.
In his remarks, Director General, Micro Reforms for African Agribusiness (MIRA) Nigeria Project, Dr. Tony Bello identifi ed fertilizer, seeds and their supply chain management as key factor to developing the agriculture sector. MIRA Programme Manager, Joseph Rusike, said the group is currently working in fi ve countries in Africa including, Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Bourkinafaso and Nigeria. He said from the participating nations, Nigeria has been most progressive considering its commitment to really reposition the sector. Rusike stressed its strong partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
From left: National Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, his wife, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Head, Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, during the 57th Independence anniversary interdenominational church service at the National Christian Centre, in Abuja yesterday Photo: Tidzalla Zacchaeus