President Buhari did a good job this week, getting the Council of State to move funding for agriculture from $200 million to $1 billion. Sure, that is not really big, but it is a step in the right direction.
After a six-hour deliberation on the prevailing insecurity in the country, the economy and electoral matters, the Council of State meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday reviewed the funding of agriculture from $200 million to $1 billion to cater for livestock and farmers.
The funds, according to council, would be disbursed through the Anchor Borrower and Commercial Agricultural Crédit Scheme (CACS) to boost the diversification agenda of the current administration and food security, among others.
Now that he has the funding, he needs to develop a better strategy to make sure the real farmers get this money. The National Identification Number (NIN) and Bank Verification Number (BVN) must be incorporated in any strategy the government adopts as it makes the funds available.
This Buhari’s call is coming when the President of the African Development Bank is also pushing for more funding in African agriculture. I do believe that the decade of 2020s would be one where Africa would have the turning point. Yes, we would have the capacity to feed more of our citizens.
According to Adesina, “For too long, Agriculture has been associated with what I call the three Ps – pain, penury, and poverty. The fact though is that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that is primed to unleash new economic opportunities that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”
The African Development Bank is also pioneering the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones(https://goo.gl/P8FvaY) in 10 African countries, that are expected to transform rural economies into zones of economic prosperity and save African economies billions of dollars in much needed foreign reserves.
“We must now turn the rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity. This requires a total transformation of the agriculture sector. At the core of this must be rapid agricultural industrialization. We must not just focus on primary production but on the development of agricultural value chains,” Adesina added. “That way, Africa will turn from being at the bottom to the top of global value chains.” (AfDB newsletter)
Essentially, if Nigeria could double farm yield, we would reduce poverty by at least 30% since more than 65% of our working people are in agriculture. There is no other sector that holds the future of Nigeria than agriculture. I am very happy that President Buhari tabled that before the Council of State this week. You rarely discuss agriculture in Council of State. He made it happen, and they gave the blessing. Now, he needs to go and execute.
While we are talking of technology funding, the government has made a call that it has $1 billion to invest to seed farmers. It does not have to be in tech to be called capital. Nigeria has capital right now. If you want to farm, join cooperatives to access this funding which typically goes through Bank of Agriculture and cooperatives. Every LGA through the state State Ministry of Agriculture has a cooperative. You must join to tap into the funding.