AGRA to Unlock $80m into Agriculture Investments

James Emejo in Abuja

Agricultural investment institution, AGRA, has said it hopes to unlock $80 million for investments in agriculture in three flagship states in the country.

AGRA’s Vice-President, Policy and State Capacity, Dr. Apollos Nwafor, said the planned intervention was contained in its new five-year document, aimed at impacting over 1.2 million farmers in the country.

Speaking at the launch of the AGRA 3.0 Strategy (2023 – 2027) which also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between AGRA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nwafor said its strategic interventions will focus on enhancing the productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers, improve market access and value chain development, promote climate-smart agriculture, and foster an enabling policy environment over the next five years.

He said AGRA is determined to leave no one behind as well as ensure that the benefits of its initiatives reached all segments of society, particularly women, young people, and historically marginalised groups.

On his part, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, on behalf of the federal government, commended AGRA for its past programmes in the country which he said were successful and impactful.

He pointed out that the federal government’s policy on agriculture aligns with AGRA’s strategic plan in its objectives and mandates.

Umakhihe also expressed hope that the MoU between both parties would further bring about transformation in the country’s food systems.

Nwafor, however, explained that AGRA and the federal government have been in strategic partnership for the past 15 years.

He said the institution had invested over $32 million to support inclusive agricultural transformation in the country between 2007 and 2022.

According to him, investments in farmer and system development had so far benefitted 964,260 farmers including 260,350 women and 703,910 men in maize, rice, and soybean value chains out of the 1.5 million farmers targeted across Kaduna and Niger States in the last strategy.

Under the new framework, AGRA will also partner with the government to address the challenge of low budgetary allocation to agriculture by tracking budget approvals, releases and actual expenditures in order to assure adequate funding for program implementation.

AGRA Board Member, Ms Ada Osakwe, said the interventions would assist to accelerate Nigeria’s food systems transformation, adding that the institution will continue to support the country stakeholders to take advantage of new technologies and innovation opportunities that could facilitate knowledge sharing and local actions that enable greater participation in food systems decision making that work for the people.

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