Corruption, Poor Leadership Responsible For Africa’s Poverty- IFAD

Corruption, Poor Leadership Responsible For Africa’s Poverty- IFADHead of the International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr Kanayo Nwanze, says Africa is a leader in world poverty and hunger, as a result of lack of committed leadership and rampant corruption.

Dr kanayo was speaking at the UK’s house of lords on Wednesday.

According to him, despite its rich natural resources including arable land, Africa still generates only 10% of its agricultural output while spending some 35 billion Dollars on food imports each year.

The head of the UN agency then challenged African leaders to stop talking about change but rather, deliver it, particularly investments in small-holder agriculture.

Mr Nwanze who believes the future of agriculture lies in the hands of the continent’s young generation, also called on the youths as well as the government, who he has asked to create an enabling environment.

IFAD to Extend RUFIN Program Beyond 2017

2017, Agriculture, IFAD, RUFIN, Rural Financing, International Fund For Agricultural DevelopmentBeneficiaries of the Rural Financing Programe of the International Fund For Agricultural Development in Benue state North Central Nigeria, have appealed for an extension of the program beyond 2017.

They made the call when officials of the Federal Ministry Of Agriculture and IFAD representatives visited Logor Council Area to assess how well the farmers have utilized the funding.

The IFAD officials were also in Lagos state where they visited the Epe and Ikorodu Local Government Areas.

Coordinator of RUFIN Lagos state, Funmi Bello said the Lagos State Government is planning to extend the program even if IFAD is not continuing. “We have to mentor these people to a certain stage” She added.

The 7-year program which was introduced in 2010 is being sponsored by the International Fund For Agricultural Development, in partnership with the government.

It’s main aim is to reduce poverty in rural areas by providing access to financial services for poor households especially women, the physically challenged and the youth.

Pleased With Results

So far, officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture are pleased with the results. Speaking with the Senior Technology Assistant to the Minister Of Agriculture, Autta Appeh, he says: “Our aim is to bring life back to the village and to do that, is to provide access to financing and elevate both the youth, women and ageing farmers”

Farm land and farm produce were among some of the rewards for the local farmers. A Beneficiary Gloria Nguto, in the Logor Local Government also expresses her joy while speaking with Channels Television, in her words, “With the first money they gave us, we started trading shoes, bags and other things.

“Even as we are not in the town, they are encouraging us to produce more so that we will not sit idle and eat, depend on our husbands or our children”

Another beneficiary Adebimpe Olawale said: “We started very small but now at least I can boast that I am somebody”

However, she admits that there have been challenges along the way, she opined that “the government should bring the interest down to 2% per annum where farmers can have real access and have gains from their farms, they will have something to remain for themselves and still have something to pay back”.

Microfinance expert, Adamu Ibrahim says, “What RUFIN has done in collaboration with Central Bank is to bring in intervention funds specifically targeted at a particular segment of the market to bring down the cost of interest”

An IFAD official expressed that RUFIN has thus far been the best pilot program that has been put together. “It has given us a platform to be able to build upon, from this we are building a bigger basket”, he added.

According to IFAD, 18,000 farmer groups have been able to access micro- finance through the RUFIN program.

IFAD: Farmers Call For Extension Of Programme

Agriculture,ifad, farmers, ifad programmeFarmers benefiting from the rural finance programme of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), have appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Benue State Government, to extend the programme beyond 2017 to keep them away from unemployment and idleness.

The farmers, Mr Geofry Ahundegah and Nguto Gloria, made the call when the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh and IFAD delegation visited Logo council area on an assessment tour of the cooperative farm groups, where they showcased their harvest and farms.

The Minister of Agriculture who was represented by his Technical Adviser on Donor Funds, Mr Auta Apeh says, the rural finance project is a huge success capable of meeting domestic food production, if sustained beyond March 2017.

While the farmers are busy earning a living through Agriculture under the IFAD rural finance programme, government with do well to encourage the programme to keep young people busy and help achieve food sufficiency for Nigeria.

FG Asked To Involve More Young Nigerians In Farming

rice farming in NigeriaThe International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is asking the Federal Government of Nigeria to formulate policies that will encourage young people to go into farming and also reduce farmers’ risks.

According to the President of IFAD, Kanayo Nwanze, agriculture provides a better revenue and job creation alternatives to Nigeria.

He also attributed the growing number of rural-urban migration experienced in most cities to lack of development policies that consider rural dwellers who are mainly farmers.

A large number of Nigeria’s youth are unemployed and according to IFAD agriculture is a good means to get them engaged.

At a meeting of representatives from Central and West African countries in Abuja held to brainstorm on best ways to encourage young people into agriculture, IFAD decried the rate of rural-urban migration among young people.

For the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the forum, good initiatives of the government alone are not enough to change the narratives.

He stressed that implementation framework must be developed for impactful programmes.

Nigeria has participated in several fora of this kind in the past, with successive governments formulating policies aimed at developing the agricultural sector.

Yet, the practice of agriculture has continued to remain in the hands of peasant farmers with low capacity to produce food for Nigeria’s growing population.

This has led to a growing import index for food items including some perishables that could be grown locally.

Ogun Govt. To Revolutionise Agricultural Sector

Ogun Govt. To Revolutionise Agricultural SectorOgun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, says his administration is ready to revolutionise the state’s agricultural sector and its value added chains so as to create employment and reduce poverty

The governor’s declaration is part of plans to improve Ogun State’s economic base towards food sufficiency and security.

Governor Amosun made the promise while playing host to the Country’s Programme Manager, Value Added Chains of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Mrs Atsuko Toda, at his office in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital in South-west Nigeria.

While assuring farmers in the state of better years ahead, the governor also expressed readiness to partner with IFAD in agricultural development.

Director of Research and Statistics, Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, Dele Olugbebi, decried that, many initiatives introduced by the government at all levels, the sector is yet to find its level.

He emphasised that over 90% of local farmers still depend on traditional means of production and poor marketing.

Despite putting other incentives in place for farmers in the state by the government, Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Ogun State chapter, Segun Dasaolu, urged the government to do more.

The State government in conjunction with IFAD is expected to empower about 1,500 farmers and provide cluster processing centres for selected agricultural produce.

FG working to revolutionize agriculture in Nigeria – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan said Friday that his Administration was wholly committed to actualizing its plans to positively transform Nigeria’s agricultural sector into a major wealth creator and source of employment for the nation’s youth.

Speaking at an audience with a delegation from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) led by its President, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, President Jonathan said that the Federal Government was initiating and promoting reforms that will move Nigeria away from a preponderance of subsistence farming to the establishment of agriculture as a very viable modern-day business.

“We have a very large youthful population and to create enough jobs for them we must develop agriculture, solid minerals and other sectors. Nigeria has a lot of untapped potentials for agricultural development. If we can reposition agriculture as a profitable and dignified profession, more of our young people will be encouraged to go that way.

“We are very focused in this regard and I am confident that we will achieve positive results,” the President assured Mr. Nwanze and his delegation which included IFAD’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Atsuko Toda.

Noting that the implementation of its agricultural value chain development programme was a very important component of the Federal Government’s plans to revolutionize agricultural production in Nigeria, President Jonathan thanked IFAD for supporting the programme with a $74 million virtually interest-free loan.

He praised Mr Nwanze for his continuing support for agricultural development in Nigeria, saying that Nigeria was also proud of the good work the IFAD President was doing to promote self-sufficiency in food production globally.

Mr Nwanze told the President that IFAD had given loans and grants worth $225 Million for agricultural development in Nigeria since 1985.

He promised that IFAD will continue to support efforts of the Jonathan Administration to modernize agricultural production in Nigeria, saying that recent positive developments in the sector were a testimony to the President’s “commitment and dedication”.

FG secures $74 million loan to boost agriculture

The Federal Government has signed a $74 million loan with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to boost cassava and rice production in the country.

President of the organization, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze said that the programme is expected to improve the value chain of rice and cassava production in six states of the federation targeted at reducing unemployment and improving household income, at the signing ceremony in Abuja,.

Present at the  ceremony were the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her counterpart from the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina.

The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stated that the federal, state and local government will provide a counterpart fund of $31 million to be paid for a period of six years.

Okonjo-Iweala said the IFAD credit would be beneficial to the country as it would help create jobs and help the country to be self-sufficient in food production.

She said the agreement comprised an IFAD credit of $74m, which would attract zero interest rate and a repayment period of 40 years, as well as a grant of $0.5m.

The minister explained that the credit was on soft terms, adding that the three tiers of government would provide counterpart contribution to the tune of $31.2m.

Okonjo-Iweala said, “We are signing this credit to underscore the importance of IFAD’s commitment to the development of agriculture in this country, and it also demonstrates that our relationship with IFAD is yielding benefits to this country.

“The IFAD partnership development programme, which is what we are kicking off today, is valued at $105.2m and comprises of an IFAD credit of $74m and a grant of $0.5m.”

She added, “The credit is on soft terms and the Federal Government, states and local councils will provide counterpart contribution to the tune of $31.2m. This project will be implemented over a period of six years and there is no doubt that it will be a strong contributor to the very important plan for the agriculture sector.

“The IFAD credit is one of the most beneficial because there is no interest, only 0.75 per cent commitment charge and 40 years’ repayment period; and so, it is really a very great credit for the country to access.”

Also speaking at the event, Adesina said the funding would be used to boost rice and cassava production in six states.

The project, he noted, would cover 40,000 households in Anambra, Ebonyi, Ogun, Niger, Benue and Taraba states.

“IFAD is working very closely with us and they are supporting us in rice and cassava production. The programme will target 40,000 households in six states and it will help us to strengthen the agriculture value chain, improve market infrastructure, particularly feeder roads between the production centres and the markets, and enhance productivity of farmers,” he said.

Nwanze said the organisation had financed nine projects valued at $229m.

He said Nigeria was currently receiving 40 per cent of the total loans given to West and Central African countries.

“Funding for this project was approved in April this year. We have financed a total of nine projects valued at $229m, and currently, Nigeria receives about 40 per cent of total loans to West and Central Africa, comprising of 21 countries, and this shows how important Nigeria is to the continent,” Nwanze said.


Nigeria’s debt is now N6.88 trillion…. DMO

The total debt profile of Nigeria now stands at $44.28bn (N6.88tn), according to the Debt Management Office (DMO).

Statistics obtained from the DMO revealed that the domestic debt component of the total indebtedness stood at $38.37bn (N5.97tn), while the external debt stood at $5.91bn (N919.44bn) as at March 31, 2012.

Details of the external debt balance showed that multilateral financial institutions accounted for 83.28 per cent of the country’s total debt with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development-a member of the World Bank Group-is owed $6.31m.

Another member of the group, the International Development Association is owed $4.29bn while the International Fund for Agricultural Development is owed $70.25m.

The African Development Bank is owed $43.55m, while the African Development Fund is owed $387.23m.

Non-Paris Club debt sources account for 8.26 per cent of the nation’s external debt, which includes European Development Fund, $110.08m; and the Islamic Development Fund, $14.56m.

Bilateral loans account for $433.84m, while commercial loans contribute $54.63m.

The $500m, which Nigeria borrowed from the International Capital Market in 2011, accounts for the remaining 8.26 per cent of the external debt.

Details of the domestic debts, on the other hand, showed that FGN bonds accounted for N3.67tn or 61.44 per cent of the money borrowed by the Federal Government from internal sources.

Nigerian Treasury Bills account for N1.95tn or 32.63 per cent, while treasury bonds account for N353.73m or 5.93 per cent.

As at March 31, 2011, the nation’s external debt stood at $5.23bn, while the domestic debt stood at N4.87tn.

This means that within a one-year period, the external debt stock rose by 13 per cent, while the domestic debt stock rose by 22.59 per cent.

The Federal Government had recently disclosed to the National Assembly its plan to borrow $8bn from external sources for infrastructure development.

If the loan request is approved, the country’s foreign debt will grow to $13.91bn.