FG inaugurates Committee to Support Small Farmers Productivity
The Federal Government in collaboration with Manobi Africa PLC a company based in Mauritius has inaugurated the National Agcelerant Technical Committee. The Committee would Mobilize Financial Support for Small Farmers and also provide Technical Assistance towards improving their capacity in area of new Agronomic practices and latest Technologies, adding that it would facilitate improvement in their Productivity.
Speaking during the inauguration in Abuja, the Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development(FMARD) , Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono noted that ‘’our agricultural sector is characterized by low productivity ,under- performing agricultural value chains ,food import level negatively affecting our trade balance among others’’
Alhaji Nanono further said that ‘’ we need to start reversing this trend by harnessing the hug potentials in the agricultural sector for sustainable development through partnership and engagement with wiling stakeholders who genuinely believe in our beloved nation ,and ready to lend us helping hands, he stressed.
He pointed out that ‘’ the AgCelerant is a novel Value Chain orchestration platform connecting smallholder contract farming and producers with banks ,insurers and input providers and agro-industries to control risks and improve the productivity, security and welfare of millions of farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.’’
The Minister also said that ‘’ the promotion of phygital Agriculture to encapsulate the emergent opportunity for robust physically-based, digitally – driven solution to improve Agricultural production and productivity in Nigeria towards sustainable and transparent global food systems of the future cannot be over-emphasized’’, he added.
To this end, the Hon. Minister spelt out the Terms of Reference for the committee to include: Develop areas of partnership and come up with clear objectives of the progam, Develop strategies and implementation framework for the program, prepare work plans and budgets over the program lifetime and year one with activities identified, Draft MOUs that will guide the involvement and roles rationalization between the partners, among others. The Committee is chair by the Permanent Secretary (FMARD), Co- chair by International Crop Research institute for semi-arid tropics (ICRISAT) / Manobi Africa PLC, Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Agriculture, among others as members, while Federal Department of Agricultural Extension(FDAE) as Secretariat.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, (FMARD), Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar, represented by the Director, (FDAE), Mrs. Karima Babangida, said that ‘’ according to the FAO, Nigeria food imports are rising and projected ,for rice alone ,to reach 5 Million tons by 2028. This dependency on food imports applies throughout the commodities, we consume, resulting in a trade imbalance that severely dents our national budget and threatens to aggravate’’
He added that there is need to improve the efficient of agricultural value chains which remains informal, unstructured and unorganized.
Dr. Umar pledged that ‘’ this first national AgCelerant Technical Committee will lay the footsteps for the acceleration of Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector’’. He also charged members to contribute meaningfully to enable them achieve its objectives.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Manobi Africa, Daniel P. Annerose, pledged continuous collaboration and Technical Support towards improving Food Security and Value Chain in the Agricultural Sector in Nigeria.