Friday, March 24, 2023

Buhari welcomes $538 million given to Nigeria by AfDB, others

“Feeding Africa is an imperative. We must ensure that we feed ourselves today, tomorrow and well into the future.”

• January 26, 2023
President Muhammadu Buhari and Akinwunmi Adesina
President Muhammadu Buhari and Akinwunmi Adesina

President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the provision of $538.05 million for the first phase of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) for Nigeria programme.

The African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development provided the facility.

In a statement, the president’s media aide Femi Adesina said this in his goodwill message to the Feed Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government on Wednesday in Dakar, Senegal.

The Nigerian leader called on his counterparts to embrace innovative policies that ensure the continent’s citizens eat what they produce and export the surplus.

He also urged the African leaders to demonstrate political will and re-commit themselves to the transformation of agriculture in the continent. While noting the rising 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, Buhari listed measures that African leaders must take to change the status quo.

“Feeding Africa is an imperative. We must ensure that we feed ourselves today, tomorrow and well into the future. The starting point is to raise agricultural productivity,” stated Mr Buhari. “This requires the access of farmers to quality farm inputs, especially improved seeds, and fertilisers and mechanisation.”

He added, “To succeed, we must strongly support farmers. There is no doubt that we need to subsidise our farmers, but we must do so in ways that are transparent, remove rent-seeking behaviour and effectively deliver support to farmers.”

The Nigerian president explained that 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.

Mr Buhari said, “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.”

He stressed that leaders must reduce the rural-to-urban migration rate by developing rural areas, noting that the future of agriculture in Africa would depend on getting more youths into agriculture, which means making agriculture attractive to them.

“To feed Africa, we need younger male and female farmers. We must also ensure that they get access to land, finance, technologies, information, and markets,” he said.


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