FG, AFDB begin agriculture transformation agenda
The Federal Government and the African Development Bank (AFDB) have announced the commencement of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme.
The Project Manager, ATASP I, Mr. Haruna Akwanshiki disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at the AFDB supervision meeting.
He said the focus of the programme was to build capacity for 200,000 youths in various value chains of rice, cassava and sorghum.He explained that over 7000 youths had been trained in the phase one (ATASP I) of the programme to facilitate the creation of over 120,000 jobs.
He added that the implementation strategy would encourage the private sector to establish processing mills, which would use the raw materials produced by local farmers.
Akwanshiki said: “The programme would focus on small-scale farmers, who will be clustered in large numbers for the core investors, particularly along the sorghum, rice and cassava value chains.”
He disclosed that the five-year programme was being implemented in seven states of Kebbi, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Niger, Anambra and Enugu.He stressed that the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) facilitated the project at the cost of $174.8million, adding that the AFDB provided $168.13million while the Federal Government would pay the balance.
He disclosed that there were plans to scale up intervention in other states if the model succeeds in the pilot states.The project manager explained that the AFDB had achieved 30 per cent level of infrastructure development in the area of construction of feudal roads, irrigation, rural market, water project and primary schools.
On the repayment of the credit, he said: “The loan is more or less without any charges, it’s a concessional one which the country would repay in some years. Taking the loan is not a problem, but using it for the purpose for which it was meant is.”