The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, on Wednesday, emphasised the importance of technology, recalling its deployment during his tenure as Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister.
Adesina served as Minister under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011-2015. Shortly after, he emerged as the first Nigerian to become AfDB President, a position he currently occupies.
Speaking during the Conferment of Honorary Doctorate of Technology by the Federal University of Technology Minna, the AfDB President said he turned the power of technology in Nigeria’s Agricultural sector.
According to him, he enabled 15 million farmers to have access to improved seeds and fertilisers and to end corruption in the agricultural sector using their mobile phones.
“It was revolutionary; the first not only in Africa but actually it was the first in the world. It helped to produce in Nigeria a record additional 21 million metric tonnes of food. It boosted food security and expanded wealth for farmers,” he said.
“Rural wealth expanded from the North-East across the North-Central to the North-West, from the South-West, South-East and the South-South of the country.
“It brought accountability and transparency in the use of public funds. It changed the lives of farmers including Hajia Ladi Balade, a female farmer in Zamfara’s Bakalori irrigation project who was growing just two hectares of rice,” Adesina stated.
“I went to her farm. With the technology support she received on her mobile phone, Hajia Ladi Baladi boosted her production, went to Mecca and supported 23 orphans. My wife, Grace is here today. She would call Hajia Ladi Balade the Minister’s second wife.”
He also charged the class of 2022 of the institution to embrace technology and build a new, smart Nigeria.
Adesina believes that the graduates have been shaped in Minna and should help shape the tech future of Nigeria.
“As the class of 2022, you will help shape the tech future of Nigeria.: So be leaders, you have been shaped right here in Minna for exports to other parts of Nigeria, Africa and to the world.
“Build a new, smart, dynamic, globally competitive Nigeria. It is in your hands, go and make it happen. I wish you success and God’s success and God’s richest blessing,” he added.
Below is the full speech as rendered by the minister in Abuja.
Good afternoon gentlemen, and thank you for honouring our invitation once again. While briefing you last Friday on the 1st anniversary, second term of the Buhari Administration, I hinted at the agricultural revolution that the Administration is about to embark upon, and I said that the Hon. Minister of Agriculture and I will be providing details. Well, we are here to do just that today.
2. The Buhari Administration is set to revolutionize agriculture in Nigeria 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 6 June 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.
3. Gentlemen, His Excellency the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria launched THE GREEN IMPERATIVE programme officially on 17 January 2019 in the presence of the representatives of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Deutsche Bank as well as Brazilian and Nigerian private sector. 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).
4. Now, how will this programme revolutionize agriculture in Nigeria, you may ask. The GREEN IMPERATIVE programme will lead to the following:
– Reactivation of six motor assembly plants in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for assemblying tractors and other implements. The programme 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. – Establishment of 142 agro processing service centres for value addition, with one centre in each Senatorial District. – 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 – 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 create 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 – It will train about 100,000 extension workers within 3 years. – It will impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically, – It will revitalize our Research and Extension service delivery through a 5-year technology-package transfer component – The programme;s benefits also include the transfer of technology from Brazil’s manufacturers and institutions to Nigeria
5. Gentlemen, let me now give you some highlights in the evolution of the GREEN IMPERATIVE programme:
– The programme design was jointly done by Nigeria and Brazil. The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development set up a High-Level Inter-Ministerial Committee for the bilateral programme design. – In the course of the programme design, the Brazilian technical mission visited Nigeria and met with rural small-holder farmers. – The Nigerian technical team also embarked on a study tour of three African countries (Ghana, Kenya and Senegal) where MFIP is being implemented to study their challenges as well as their successes or failures – The Nigerian technical team has also visited the selected assembly plants in the six geopolitical zones to determine in-country capacity to handle the assembly of a CKD-based programme of this magnitude.
6. Since 2015, the Buhari Administration has been working hard to bring about irreversible change in many sectors and to diversify the economy away from oil. The many unprecedented programmes embarked upon by the Administration have touched the power sector, where timelines have been given for ending the age-long power supply problem; food security, especially production of rice, a national staple, through the Anchor Borrower’s Programme; the unique Social Intervention Programme (SIP); the unprecedented infrastructural renewal project covering roads, bridges, rail, etc; the pepped-up fight against corruption; the innovative programmes to create jobs and the unrelenting fight against insecurity, among others.
7. The stage is now set for an agricultural revolution that will strengthen food security, create massive jobs, transfer technology, revive or reinvigorate many assembly plants, strengthen the economy, save scarce resources, mechanize farming and lead to the emergence of value-added agriculture, among other benefits.
8. The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development will now make some comments on this programme, after which we will take questions. Please note that only questions related to THE GREEN IMPERATIVE programme will be entertained
The Kaduna State Government on Wednesday signed a 2billion Naira Agriculture, SMEs development fund partnership agreement with the Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture for industrial development and agricultural revolution.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held at the Government House, Kaduna, Governor Muktar Yero said that SMEs remained a critical aspect in implementing the industrialization policy of his government, reduce poverty and create employment, urging the people of the state to key into the SME programme for the creation of wealth and job opportunities.
While assuring the partners of the judicious use of the funds, he maintained that Government has put in place, measures to closely monitor the would-be beneficiaries of the SME programme for effective management of the fund.
Speaking to newsmen after signing the agreement, the Managing Directors of the two banks said that the partnership with the Kaduna State Government was to encourage small scale industries and farmers in the state and also to reduce the high rate of unemployment and poverty in the country.
As part of the agreement, the Kaduna State Government would provide the sum of one billion Naira as its own counterpart fund, while the Bank of Industry and Agriculture would provide N500, 000 each.
The loan would be given to the beneficiaries at 8% interest rate.