AFDB Agric Scheme Injects N36.2bn into Nigerian Economy
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase 1 (ATASP-1) spearheaded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), is said to have injected about 209,464 metric tonnes of food valued at N36.2billion into the Nigerian economy in four years.
The National Programme Coordinator, Mr Mohammad Arabi, who disclosed this at a news conference, yesterday, in Abuja, also said the project, which was funded to the tune of $174.85 million by AfDB, has created about 299,615 jobs.
The project that commenced in 2015, and implemented in Jigawa, Anambra, Enugu, Niger, Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi States, was initially targeted to add 100,000mt of food to the nation’s food basket, but in its four years of implementation, has increased farmers’ income by 20.5 percent.
According to Mr Arabi, the programme was designed to attract private sector investment into the agricultural sector, reduce post-harvest losses, add value to local agricultural produce, develop rural infrastructure and enhance access of farmers and other value chain actors to financial services and markets.
He added that the primary goal of ATAPS-1 was to contribute to poverty reduction, employment generation and wealth creation, import substitution, economic diversification and growth of Nigeria, particularly in the zones where the program was being implemented.
He further disclosed that social infrastructures such as Boreholes, Clinics, Schools, Markets, Ventilated Improved Pit Toilets (VIPs), Incinerators and Technology Development Centres, among others, were at over 80 percent completion in about 200 rural communities, 33 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the seven states of the federation.
Mr Arabi also disclosed that they gave advertised bids for the provision of economic in social infrastructure, such as irrigation facilities and rural feeder roads, while implementation would soon commence.
He pointed out that in order to achieve their objectives, they employed capacity building/ training and empowerment of farmers, women and youth, among others across the three commodity value chains of Rice, Cassava and Sorghum alongside rural infrastructure development.
Mr Arabi further added that the last tranche of the money would be used to train about 40,000 youths in agricultural value chain before the project elapses in 2020.