Legal Drama

Federal Government Joins Nigerian Civil Society and ONE to Launch “Do Agric, It Pays” Campaign in Nigeria

Mar. 20, 2014 – ABUJA, NIGERIA –Federal Minister of Agriculture and 2013 Forbes African of the Year, Hounorable Akinwumi Adesina joined the ONE Campaign and several civil society and faith based organizations in Abuja, today to officially launch ONE’s Do Agric, It Pays campaignin Nigeria.

Honourable Adesina was joined at the event by ONE Africa Executive Director Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, popstar and campaign champion D’banj, as well as civil society partners including NANTS, ASSAPIN, and Voices for Food Security.

First announced in January 2014 in Addis Ababain the sidelines of the 22nd African Union Summit, ONE’s Do Agric campaign works with legislators, CSOs and the public to urge African governments to commit increased budgetary allocations in agriculture, underpinned by sound, strategic, targeted policy reforms that will expand economic opportunities in agriculture for millions of people.

The AU has declared 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security, and leaders are expected to review their agricultural investment commitments at the next AU Summit in June 2014 in Equatorial Guinea.

ONE’s Do Agric campaignalso seeks to change public perception about agriculture, so that the entire value chain is recognized as an attractive and viable opportunity for agri-business, job creation for Africa’s young people and improved livelihood for smallholder farmers.

Speaking at the launch event, H.E. Adesina said:

“Agriculture has been for long a hidden gem for sustainable wealth creation in Nigeria and Africa. While other industries are dwindling in comparison, agriculture remains a viable investment frontier, which the federal government of Nigeria remains committed to unlocking for the continent’s young entrepreneurs. ONE’s Do Agric, It Pays campaign encapsulates this ideal, and we have a responsibility as leaders, not only in Nigeria, but across the continent, to own and support the campaign.”

Dr. Sipho S. Moyo noted that in spite of Nigeria’s laudable efforts in promoting agriculture, the country could not reach its full potential in the sector until and unless the necessary public funding is unlocked to catalyze private sector investments and support the key role of smallholder farmers who are responsible for a significant portion of agriculture’s 33.8 percent contribution to Nigeria’s GDP.

“Studies have shown that the multiplier effect of agricultural growth in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be 11 times greater in reducing poverty than in other non-agricultural sectors, such as utilities and mining.

This AU Year of Agriculture presents an opportunity for Nigeria to reverse budgetary cuts and improve a vital sector on which the majority of Nigerian citizens depend. The Nigerian or African path to success cannot rely only on foreign direct investment or private sector commitments only,” she said.

“Through similar investments, Brazil has transformed itself from one of he world’s greatest food importers to the world’s top exporter of beef, poultry, tropical fruits, sugarcane, ethanol and tobacco, as well as the second largest exporter of soybean.

“In Ghana and Burkina Faso, export-led growth in cocoa and cotton has contributed to improved development outcomes, and poverty has reducedby 44% and 37% respectively in these countries.

Dr. Wiebe Boer, CEO of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, said in a statement in support of the launch that “Agriculture offers many opportunities for job creation, revenue generation and the production of more goods and services to benefit all. This is why our Founder, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has made impact investments through the Foundation in agriculture in Tanzania, Rwanda and Nigeria. We encourage other African business leaders to rise up to the task of driving investments in this sector across the continent.”

Afropop superstar D’banj drew a comparison between the growth of the music industry in Nigeria and the potential growth of agriculture among the youths:

‘Several years ago, when we sought to enter the music industry in Nigeria, we met with a lot of resistance because the public thought music could not be profitable. Today, musicians are well paid and well respected. In the same way, we have identified a much greater resource in agriculture, and I am confident that the youths of Nigeria and Africa will join us in exploiting the vast gains that lie in that field. We want to be known as the Do Agric generation, and it starts with youths like me. Therefore I call on Nigerian youth to join me in asking our government to treat this issue urgently to treble the current levels of investments in Agriculture targeted at youth and small holder farmers so that we all have a chance to compete globally.”

Speaking on behalf of the Nigerian civil society, Ken Ukaoha, President of NANTS said:

“We are all united here, from various public and private sectors, inrecognition of the importance of better investment in agriculture, and the leadership role that Nigeria needs to assume during this Year of Agriculture,” he said.

“Nigeria faces critical issues in agricultural development, including land tenure security, lack of youth participation because of technological development and finance, and market development that is needed to transform the lives of smallholder farmers. We need more and better investment, not only from private sectors, but most importantly from the government, to make urgent needed improvements. That is why we are championing the Do Agric, It Pays campaign,”

In July 2003 in Maputo, African Heads of State and Government endorsed the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, which included a commitment to allocate at least 10% of national budgets to agriculture and rural development, as well as to achieve 6% annual agricultural growth within 5 years. The Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) was set up by NEPAD to monitor the implementation of this Declaration. However, only 8 countries have met this promise.

The campaign calls on all Africans to sign an online petition calling on leaders to invest more and better in agriculture. The petition can be found at www.one.org/doagric.

For more information, visit www.one.org (http://www.one.org)/doagric.

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