Buhari Welcomes $538 Million Agric Fund by AfDB, Others

Buhari Welcomes $538 Million Agric Fund by AfDB, Others (News Central TV)

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday praised the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development for providing $538.05 million for the Special Agric Processing Zones for Nigeria program’s initial phase.

In line with the Malabo Declaration of the African Heads of State and Government, he reportedly pushed his peers to devote at least 10% of their countries’ budgets to agriculture.

‘I am pleased with the partnership approach used for Nigeria by the multilateral financing institutions, with the African Development Bank providing $210million, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development providing $310m, and the Government of Nigeria providing $18.05m,” Buhari said in his goodwill message to the Feed Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government in Dakar.

This information was provided by Femi Adesina, the Special Advisor to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement he penned on Wednesday and captioned, “How Africa can feed itself, produce surplus for export, by President Buhari.”

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Buhari remarked, “The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones for Nigeria, which is in the first phase, would encompass seven States in the Federation.” He praised the African Development Bank’s efforts to establish SAPZ.

‘‘These very innovative public-private partnership models will help us to transform the agriculture sector much faster and use it to generate wealth.

‘‘They will also allow our countries to develop integrated infrastructure around our agricultural processes and add value to the production of crops, livestock, and fisheries.’’

The structural restructuring of the agriculture industry, according to him, would not be possible without the SAPZs.

In order to ensure that the zones receive special consideration, he urged his counterparts to do so as member states create their Food and Agric Delivery Compacts.

Buhari also mentioned how the crisis between Russia and Ukraine and rising global inflation had raised food costs, particularly for basic necessities like wheat and maize. He listed the steps African leaders must take to alter the situation.

‘‘We must ensure that we feed ourselves today, tomorrow, and well into the future. The starting point is to raise agricultural productivity. This requires the access of farmers to quality farm inputs, especially improved seeds, and fertilizers and mechanisation.

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‘‘To succeed, we must strongly support farmers. There is no doubt that we need to subsidize our farmers, but we must do so in ways that are transparent, remove rent-seeking behavior and effectively deliver support to farmers.

‘‘The share of budget allocation to agriculture should be increased across Africa, especially for investments in critical public goods, such as research and development, infrastructure, especially roads, irrigation, and energy.

‘‘As leaders, let us decisively ensure that we meet the 10 per cent allocation of our budgets to agriculture as agreed in the Malabo Declaration of the African Heads of State and Government. We must reduce the rate of rural to urban migration through the development of rural areas,’’ Buhari advised.

The President added that encouraging more young people to enter agriculture and making it appealing to them would be essential to the future of agriculture in Africa.

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According to him, this entails facilitating simple access to markets, technologies, financing, land, and other resources.

In order to improve the empowerment of young people and women in agriculture, he recommended that the Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts that result from the Summit address this issue.

Buhari also emphasised the need for specific funding windows from the central banks in his plea for affordable financing to boost smallholder and commercial farmers.

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