Nigeria to stimulate economy with $10bn agric fund

Nigeriawill create about five million jobs and inject over $10bn into the economy in the next 10 years through its agriculture revolution programme tagged ‘The Green Imperative.’

The initiative will also create a sustainable supply chain of raw materials for the country’s large manufacturing companies to source locally, thereby saving billions of dollars in food-related foreign exchange.

Addressing a media briefing in Abuja on Thursdaythat had in attendance his Agriculture and Rural Development colleague, Sabo Nanono, the country’sMinister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the programme, with investible funds worth $1.2bn, would save the country scarce resources, promote mechanised farming and engender value-added agricultural production.

Within three years, the minister said, about 100,000 extension workers would be trained, while the projectwould impact over 35m persons nutritionally and economically as well as revitalise research and extension servicesthrough a five-year technology package transfer component.

The project, according to him, is a Nigeria-Brazil bilateral agriculture development programme,conceptualised on June 6, 2016 by virtue of the country’s enrolment in Brazil’s Government-to-Government More Food International Programme.

Several high-level ministerial, technical visits and exchanges between both nations led to the eventual signing of a Bilateral Protocol of Intention with the Brazilian government in March 2017.

Vice President Yemi Osibanjo launched the programme on January 17,2019 at an event graced by representatives of the South American nation, Deutsche Bank,in addition to the private sector players from the two countries.

Mohammed hinted that the project would be implemented from fiveto 10 years with funding from the Development Bank of Brazil and Deutsche Bank, while insurance is to be provided by the Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit ofthe Islamic Development Bank,and coordinated by Getúlio Vargas Foundation.

Explaining how the scheme will turn agriculture around in Nigeria, the minister added that six plants would be reactivated in all of the nation’s six-geopolitical zones to assemble tractors and other implements besides importation of the Completely Knocked Downparts of about 5,000 earth removers andnumerous tools for 10years.

Another expected benefitis theestablishment of 142 agro-processing centres for value addition.

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