The Nigerian and Brazilian governments have set machinery in motion with funding to the tune of 1.2 billion dollars for a bilateral agriculture development programme.
This was revealed at a joint press conference by the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed and his counterpart in Agriculture and Rural development, Sabo Nanono on Thursday in Abuja.
The program called the Green Imperative is aimed at a revolution in the agriculture sector that will strengthen food security, create more jobs in the sector and add value to the system among other benefits.
The Minister further disclosed that the Buhari Administration is set to deliberately revolutionize agriculture in Nigeria for good through a programme called The Green Imperative, a Nigeria-Brazil Bilateral Agriculture Development Programme.
“It is the outcome of Nigeria’s decision, dating back to June 6 2016, to enrol in Brazil’s Government-to-Government More Food International Programme MFIP.
Following that decision, and between June 2016 and December 2019, several high level ministerial and technical visits and exchanges have occurred between the two countries. During one of such visits, the Bilateral Protocol of Intention with the Government of Brazil was signed in March 2017”.
Assembling of tractors and farm implements
The programme which design was jointly done by Nigeria and Brazil will lead to the reactivation of six motor assembly plants in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for assembling of tractors and other farm implements.
However, the programme by design and concept, will import the Completely Knocked Down CKD parts of about 5,000 tractors and numerous implements (for local assembly) annually for a period of 10 years.
The Minister said the two countries have agreed that the program will automatically bring about the establishment of 142 agro processing service centres for value addition, with one centre in each Senatorial District.
“There will also be the establishment of 632 mechanization service centres to support primary production in the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal Capital Territory.
This will create 774 service centers nationwide to mechanize our farming methods and process or add value to farm produce locally, leading to efficiency and eliminating post-harvest losses, thereby cutting down cost of food all year round”, he added.
Private sector management
The design of the program suggests that the private sector operators will operate and manage all the service centres and the assembly plants.
“The programme will create about 5 million jobs and inject over US$10 billion into the economy within 10 years. It will also create a sustainable supply chain of agricultural raw materials for our large manufacturing companies to source locally, thereby saving billions of US Dollars in food-related forex”.
Benefits of the project
Other benefits include the training of about 100,000 extension workers within three years, which will impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically, while at the same time, revitalize Nigeria’s research and extension service delivery through a five-year technology-package transfer component between the two countries”.
In his remark, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Sabo Nanono said the programme will stimulate the growth and development of the agric sector which will in turn boost the economy. He said Africa has about 65% of world’s arable land and in that, Nigeria has about 35% which if properly harnessed will bring a massive revolution in agriculture.
He said the private sector will drive the service centers so as to have sustainability while the process of service center emergence will be thorough and very competitive.
The program will boost mechanization and modernization in agriculture which are the best practice that brings the much needed yield.
Launch of the programme
The Vice President of Nigeria launched The Green Imperative programme officially on January 17 2019 in the presence of the representatives of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Deutsche Bank as well as Brazilian and Nigerian private sectors.
The Programme, worth US$1.2 billion, is to be implemented over a period of 5-10 years with funding from the Development Bank of Brazil BNDES and Deutsche Bank; with insurance provided by Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency ABGF and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit ICIEC of the Islamic Development Bank IsDB, and coordinated by Getúlio Vargas Foundation FGV.