Buhari Receives $538.05M For Agricultural Development Programme
The total sum of $538.05 million has been received by President Muhammadu Buhari for the development of the first phase of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) for Nigeria programme.
Naija News reports that the amount was jointly given for the programme by the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
President Buhari, in a statement on Wednesday, lauded the efforts of these three institutions for the provision of support in Senegal.
The president at the Feed Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government in Dakar urged other African leaders to at least allocate 10% of their nations’ budgets to agriculture as agreed in the Malabo Declaration of the African Heads of State and Government.
President Buhari, in a statement titled ‘How Africa can feed itself, produce a surplus for export, by President Buhari’ issued by his Special Adviser to the on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, noted that he appreciates the efforts of the African Development Bank to launch SAPZ.
He advanced that “I am pleased with the partnership approach used for Nigeria by the multilateral financing institutions, with the African Development Bank providing $210m, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development providing $310m, and the Government of Nigeria providing $18.05m.
‘‘The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones for Nigeria, which is in the first phase will cover seven States in the Federation.
‘‘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.’’
Naija News also gathered that the president in his goodwill message described the SAPZs as game changers for the structural transformation of the agricultural sector, he, therefore, admonished his counterparts to give special attention to the zones as member states to develop their Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts.
The president also cited the rising incident of inflation globally and the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict that have driven up food prices, especially for basic staples such as wheat and maize
He stated ‘‘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, fertilizers and mechanization.
‘‘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 behaviour 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, who appreciated the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, for the vision to drive the Summit, together with the African Union Commission further, noted that if agriculture must thrive in Africa in the future, then more youths need to be involved in the drive.
Buhari also called for affordable financing to support smallholder and commercial farmers, emphasizing the need for dedicated financing windows from the central banks.
He said ‘‘Access to affordable finance is critical for the success of efforts to support smallholder farmers and commercial farmers. Commercial banks do not lend much to agriculture due to the perception of high risks.
‘‘Generally, less than 3 per cent of total financing by commercial banks in Africa goes into agriculture.
“We must therefore reduce the risks of lending faced by commercial banks. But we must go beyond commercial lending. Where possible and countries can afford to, the central banks can also dedicate significant resources to complement lending from commercial banks.”