Wednesday August 5, 2020
A programme aimed to engage 2.4 million farmers to produce over 10 million metric tonnes of food to feed 100 million households in Nigeria has been launched by the federal government.
The programme, called the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), was launched at an event on July 23, 2020, in Funtua, Katsina State.
At the unveiling of the agric scheme, it was stated that the AFJP programme will allow private players, like the AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX) with access to a large number of farmers, to collaborate and work together, sharing knowledge and technology, to drive the end goal of food security in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The private sector is also being incorporated into the initiative as off-takers for the produce, which will ensure that farmers can access a market at harvest time, about 12 months.
It was disclosed further that the scheme will be operationalized through a collaboration of the federal government with various state governments, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and various private sector agri service providers.
The smallholder farmers will be spread across 36 states of the federation and the FCT and the food to be produced will include carbohydrates, animal protein and edible oils.
Speaking at the event, the CEO of AFEX, Mr Ayodeji Balogun, noted that; “With the realities of the pandemic testing our food systems, it is up to all players in the agricultural value chain to intervene in ways that are both sustainable and impactful.
“The Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan provides structured production support by giving zero-interest input financing options to farmers, enabling them to access fertilizers and seeds for their production activities, which will result in increased yields at harvest time.
“The programme will reach 2.4 million farmers, producing over 10 million metric tonnes, and providing food for 100 million households.”
Food security has remained a vital agenda on a national and global scale, and COVID-19 has presented unusual shocks to food systems that require adequate planning and response to ensure resilience and recovery.