The Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) is the largest ever government-enabled private sector-led effort to grow agriculture in Nigeria, says Greyne Anosike, acting director, communication, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
This comprehensive effort aims to increase domestic food production, reduce dependence on food imports and expand value addition to locally produced agricultural products. Through de-regulation, attractive financing, concentrated infrastructure investments, and competitive policies, the sector will be more productive, efficient and competitive. Specifically, the plan will add 20 million tons of food to domestic supply and create 3.5 million jobs by 2015.
The nation is facing stiff competition from neighbouring African countries in crude oil sales and the United States of America recent oil discovery, and in neighbouring countries such as Ghana, Angola, among others. Notably, the United States decision to research on alternative source of energy had put a check on our monolithic economy – oil, even as other Western countries intensify search to get an alternative source to the crude oil.
For Akinwunmi Adesina, agriculture minister, it has been his dream that attention is shifted from the oil sector and agriculture be driven as a business, saying he has the needed foresight to know where the game lies, little wonder he had been at the fore front of explaining the need to shift attention to agriculture as a form of business, not just as a mode of life for the old.
Since he came on board, most policies of government hitherto unfavourable to the farmers had been changed and farmers are now being re-integrated as a major stakeholder in the farming business, as had been seen in the mode of fertiliser distribution that had destroyed the corrupt middlemen and saving the nation a whooping N25 billion in 2012, the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) that allows the farmers key into the e-wallet system, allowing the farmers get seeds in a defined mode and the usage of technology in driving the ATA.
Findings have also revealed that the ATA has the capacity to create 3. 5 million jobs and add 20 millions tons to the domestic food supply by 2015. According to Adesina, shifting focus towards farming is justifiable and a task that must be accomplished in his time.
By: Harrison Ede