The umbrella body of farmers across the 774 local government areas of the federation, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and Africa Rural Infrastructure Development Company (AFRIDECO) have partnered to provide a dedicated helpline to provide farmers with rapid response and improve their agricultural productivity.
The signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed by both parties took place on Thursday at Hawthorn Suites in Abuja with members of AFAN National Working Committee and the media present.
Challenges of insecurity and poor access to information have continued to stifle the growth of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, giving rise to skyrocketing food prices across the country.
According to the National President of AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, “the farmers’ data issue has generated so much controversy and elicited the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
He noted that earlier claims of data capture by the ministry did not pass any stringent test- “We have proved that it was all a charade to defraud Nigerians.”
AFAN had earlier written to President Buhari, urging him to re-examine the expenditure of N2.7 billion incurred by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to capture 6,000,000 people without AFAN’s input.
Under the MoA, AFAN will facilitate a comprehensive farmers data, BVN, telephony and other benefits at zero cost to AFAN.
In his remarks, AFRIDECO team lead, Mr Abba Sayyadi Ruma former Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources in President Musa Yar’Adua’s administration, noted that the digitisation of agriculture in Nigeria will entrench and effective Agric Information Management System, beginning with database for farmers supported by free digital value-added services to cover agent banking, agric extension, security, healthcare and e-commerce.
The partnership will aid in closing the gap in training and capacity development of new generation of farmers complete with access to finance from existing windows not fully harnessed by AFAN, such as Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) targeting 600,000 youth, Community Policing (Women and Youth) 400,000 Jobs Initiative, coupled with CBN’s Accredited Agriculture Development Programme (AAD) targeting 10,000 in each State. None of which is sufficiently exploited by AFAN despite availability.
The president of AFAN reported that in pursuant to Nigeria’s success under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, (AfCFTA), the association was working concertedly with an Agriculture Stream led him to ensure the competences the Nigerian farmers have competitive advantage in are further developed and their potentials maximised.
These competences include Maize, Sorghum, Sesame, Palm oil, Ginger, Cassava, Cocoa and livestock among others.
He disclosed that several meetings on investment and agribusiness have been held with the Netherlands Group and several groups.
Ibrahim also disclosed that the National Elections Electoral Committee of AFAN has prepared a report and the Chairman has been invited to present to NWC, for consideration and subsequent approval by NEC when it convenes later.
AFAN again condemned and discarded as a charade the outcomes of a General Assembly Of Famers held in Kano between the 8th and 10th April, 2021.
Ibrahim disclosed that AFAN was working with Minister of health regarding the call for the complete ban of chemical fertilizer and other harmful chemicals used in the agriculture space and a promotion of organic fertilizers.
He disclosed that AFAN is duly represented by the National President in the National Steering Committee of the National Development Plan 2026-2030 and Agenda 2050.
“This committee was inaugurated by Mr. President and is already working against all odds to produce a blue print for Nigeria’s development. Attaining The 17 SDGs will be the impetus required for Nigeria’s sustainable development,” he said.