$175m Agric Programme Created 288,615 Jobs, FG Says
The Federal Government on Tuesday announced that the first phase of its $175m Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme created 299,615 jobs, provided 209,464 metric tonnes of food and increased the income of farmers and processors, among others.
According to the government, over 20,000 farmers and processors were trained under the ATASP-1 on good agronomic practices and food processing across the four zones where the programme was on-going.
The African Development Bank in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development developed the ATASP-1, adopting a holistic approach to tackling the challenges confronting agriculture in Nigeria.
Both partners are funding the programme to the tune of $174.85m including grant facility and the ATASP-1, which is a five-year programme that was later extended for two years. It became operative in February 2015 although it was inaugurated in March 2015.
Outlining the achievements of the ATASP-1 at a press conference in Abuja, the National Programme Coordinator, under the FMARD, Ibrahim Arabi, said, “The programme has contributed to the food and nutrition security, job and wealth creation objectives of Nigeria’s agricultural policy.
“About 299,625 jobs have been created, compared with a target of 120,000; 209,464MT of food valued at N32.2bn has been injected into the economy as against a target of 100,000MT.
“Also, the increase in the incomes of farmers and entrepreneurs by 20.5 per cent at midterm review of the programme gives confidence that the target of 25 per cent increase in income for the programme beneficiaries is achievable at the end of the programme.”
The ATASP-1, which is supervised by the Permanent Secretary, FMARD, Mohammed Umar, is on-going in 200 rural communities, 33 Local Government Areas in seven states of the federation – Anambra, Enugu, Niger, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and Sokoto.
Arabi noted that the benefiting states were located in four staple crop processing zones of Adani-Omor, Bida-Badeggi, Kano-Jigawa and Kebbi-Sokoto respectively.
He said, “The primary goal of ATASP-1 is to contribute to poverty reduction, employment generation and wealth creation, import substitution, economic diversification and growth of Nigeria, particularly in the zones where the programme is being implemented.
“In order to achieve this goal, ATASP-1 uses the strategy of capacity building and empowerment of farmers, women and youths, among others across the three commodity value chains of rice, cassava and sorghum alongside rural infrastructure development.”
Arabi added that the economic infrastructure development, rural roads and irrigation infrastructure implementation process had started with the invitation of bids already sent out in the month of July 2019.