The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) on Tuesday disclosed that it has set aside two billion dollars for a new project to empower smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
The project, it said, would take flight in partnership with State Governments, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA).
National Coordinator, Princess Akobundu, made this disclosure at a Summit and Technical Engagement Roundtable on the project in Abuja.
The Summit was themed “Innovative Strengthening of Small Holder Farmers Capabilities toward Productive Land Restoration amid COVID-19 in Nigeria”.
According to her, the project will impact farmers in rural areas and boost Nigeria’s capacity in food production for local consumption and export.
She said various local governments, traditional institutions and other relevant stakeholders have also keyed into the project.
The project, Akobundu added, has 22 pilot states and is still open for more partnerships.
Reports reveal that Kwara, Yobe, Katsina, Ekiti, Adamawa, Delta, Sokoto, Imo, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kano, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Akwa-Ibom, Gombe, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Kaduna, Ondo, Zamfara, Niger, Enugu are among the states that have keyed into the project.
“We have already taken off; NEPAD is known for partnership and we are using the bottom-top approach to hunger to mitigate the COVID-19 effects and ensure employment for our youths and women.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has made a commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty and this programme is one of the strategic moves to achieve that.
“We are partnering with states and traditional councils to ensure the grassroots are carried along
“However, there are guidelines, like availability of lands, counterpart funding and domestication of the project with a university or college of agriculture in the state for sustainability.
“So, we are taking the initiative to ensure proper food sufficiency and eradicate hunger from Nigeria, West Africa and Africa in general.
“On how much it will cost, we are looking at two billion dollars and we are taking it phase by phase. You can see that all the 22 states are ready and committed,” Akobundu said.
On his part, Head of Food Security Unit, AUDA, Mr Mamadu Diakhite, said the Agency and NEPAS sought to boost food production at the grassroots.
He added that the governors of the states have shown commitment to the programme by allotting lands for the smallholder farmers to increase production.
“The aim is to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land and forest by 2030.
“It is called ARR100. It is a partnership that helps bring soil fertility to be arable so that it can produce enough food for the population,” Diakhite disclosed
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