The Nigerian federal government has launched the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan (AFJP), a component of the Nigeria Economic and Sustainability Plan initiated to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and the livelihoods of farmers.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Muhammad Sabo Nanono, made this known at the official launch of the AFJP in Katsina State, noting that the program will transform agriculture from a low- yielding and subsistent state to a high- yielding, technology-based farming system.
The Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) was developed by the Economic Sustainability Committee under the chairmanship of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to fashion COVID -19 interventions strategies.
The NESP was designed as a 12-month, N2.3- Ttrillion “transit” Pplan to be funded as follows: N500 billion from special federal government accounts, N1.1 trillion from the Central Bank of Nigeria in the form of structured lending, N334 billion from external multilateral sources, and N302.9 billion from other funding sources.
The plan, among other things, is meant to ensure the cultivation of between 20,000 and 100,000 hectares of new farmland in every state, as well as to support offtake and agro-processing, with low-interest credit.
The minister said the AFJP is one of the strategies adopted by the committee while noting that the plan will work in tandem with the ministry’s three -pronged action plan to deal with the impacts of the pandemic on Nigerian farmers and agriculture.
“This symbolic launch represents over 1,100,000 smallholder farmer beneficiaries in 36 states and the FCT on the Batch A list under 6 partners namely AFEX, BabanGona, Value Seeds, Universal, Thrive Agric and Oxfam. We will soon be announcing Batch B beneficiaries,” Nanono explained.