Adesina’s Policies’ll Preserve 60% of Nigeria’s Food Produce
The Coordinator of the Nigeria Agri-Business Group and Out-going Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) Emmanuel Itoya Ijewere has said the legacy of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina will save Nigeria over 60 per cent in food shortages.
He said “this is because Adesina has addressed the issues of food processing and storage,thereby ensuring farmers do not lose their produce after harvest or in the course of transportation as before”
Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP yesterday he said the Minister, Dr Akinwumi has been a blessing to Nigeria through the revolution of agriculture and will be an asset to Africa if elected the President of the African Development Bank(AfDB)
According to him” if Adesina were to be elected the President of the AfDB “it will be a great plus because agriculture is the strength of Africa and he will be an asset. Nigeria will lose him but also the nation will gain because Nigeria remains the greatest economy in Africa with about 35 per cent of the entire Africa population”.
Speaking on the achievements of the agric-business group, Ijeweresaid “the group through Adesina has revolutionised the thinking of Nigerians towards accepting agriculture as a business and not a developmental project, successfully created a data bank of stakeholders in the food production sector and created a platform for communication and awareness generation to stakeholders”
He noted that before the institution of the group, “Nigerian farmers who produced 120 per cent of the nations needed food lost over 60 per cent of its perishable agricultural products to poor or non existing processing and storage facilities,thereby leading to a food shortage of 25-30 per cent”
He added that farmers were short-changed by traders and greatly challenged by the many Roadblocks constituted by various security agencies as they moved harvested produce from one part of the country to the other.
Ijewere expressed optimism that all that would soon end as the Group through the efforts of Adesina had put in place steps to curb these challenges.
“The Group is planning to reach out to Nigerian farmers through using the local government approach of establishing co operatives and coordinating individuals who have vested interests to push the complete agricultural process in rural communities, to also ensure loan facilities for farmers as well as better transportation of harvested produce”
He assured that the dignity of Nigerian farmers had been restored even as stakeholders across board were all on deck to ensure the effectiveness of the nations agricultural revolution.
It is to be recalled that the 2014 Annual Report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had revealed that as result of treating agriculture as a business over $5.6b letters of intent were signed by over 30 domestic and multinational agribusinesses while a $100m Fund for Agricultural Financing in Nigeria (FAFIN) was launched to provide financing for small to medium investors in agriculture.
The Report further revealed that an agriculture mechanisation program was launched by the Ministry in which a mechanisation fund of N50b was also established. The programme once fully executed will establish 1,200 Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises(AEHE)
It revealed that there had been over $3b in ATA priority value chain production and processing including cassava starch and sweetener,cassava flour,fruit concentrate processing,sorghum,palm.oil and parboiled rice.
Other investment it revealed included over $2b in infrastructure development ,mechanisation and training and processes products including ethanol and cassava starch among others.
The Report also revealed over $2b in investments for infrastructure and other value chain related programming.
Investors in the agricultural value chain include local,International and Global players including The World Bank,Dangote,Cargil, Ford Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among others .