The federal government of Nigeria has disclosed its latest effort to salvage food production within 12 months with the Agric for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), a new agricultural program designed to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the sector.
Andrew Kwasari, senior special assistant to the president on agriculture , made the announcement, noting that the AFJP is completely different from the Anchor Borrowers Program launched in 2015 by the Central Bank of Nigeria, a model which links anchor companies involved in food processing with smallholder farmers.
Kwasari explained that AFJP in collaboration with the N-Power Scheme, a part of the federal government’s Social Intervention Program, the AFJP has trained enumerators to ensure the proper identification of potential farming beneficiaries.
“This joint venture between FMARD, State Governments, as well as other relevant stakeholders including the Central Bank of Nigeria, private sector via out-grower schemes, and farmers across the country, is aimed at increasing locally grown food supply, while simultaneously creating employment opportunities in the agricultural sector.
“This will be achieved through investment in the sector by way of providing zero-interest input financing options such as fertilizers and seeds to farmers across the 36 states of the country and the F.C.T, to produce a harvest that can sell domestically and internationally,”, Kwasari averred.
He emphasized that the main areas earmarked by the AFJP includes rice, maize, sorghum, soybeans, groundnuts, cowpea, cassava, millet, livestock, horticulture, palm kernel and cotton; with sesame seeds, hibiscus, cocoa, hides, and skins;, and horns and hoofs being targeted for the export market.
Kwasari detailed that the AFJP targets 2 million smallholder farmers with an aggregate of 2 million hectares of land across Nigeria’s 36 states and FCT, and aims to produce 10 million tons of food within one year.