The Nigerian Government in collaboration with Manobi Africa PLC, a company based in Mauritius, has inaugurated the National Agcelerant Technical Committee to mobilize financial support for small farmers and also provide technical assistance towards improving their capacity, in the area of new Agronomic practices and latest Technologies.
Speaking during the inauguration in Abuja recently, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) , Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono, noted that the Agricultural Sector is characterized by low productivity, under performing agricultural value chains and food import level, negatively affecting the country’s trade balance among others.
Alhaji Nanono further said: “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 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 spelt out the Terms of Reference for the committee to include: Develop areas of partnership and come up with clear objectives of the program; 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 was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, (FMARD), and co- chaired 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 Services (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 rice alone, was projected 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 efficiency 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.
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.