NIGERIA — The Federal government of Nigeria has launched the US$1.2billion agricultural programme dubbed “The Green Imperative” aimed to revolutionize the sector, targeting to create five million jobs and inject US$10 billion into the economy.

The program is a product of Nigeria’s decision, dating back to June 6, 2016, to enrol in Brazil’s government-to-government More Food International Programme (MFIP), to be implemented over a period of five to 10 years.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and his counterpart at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono.

According to the ministers, the funding will come from the Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) and Deutsche Bank, with insurance provided by Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency (ABGF) and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit (ICIEC) of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and coordinated by Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV).

The project will embark on the reactivation of 6 motor assembly plants in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for assembling tractors and other implements, with importation of the Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts of about 5,000 tractors and numerous implements for local assembly annually for a period of 10 years, reports This Day.

It will also establish 142 agro-processing service centres for value addition, with one centre in each senatorial district, together with 632 mechanisation service centres to support primary production in the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“This will create 774 service centres nationwide to mechanise our farming methods and process or add value to farm produce locally, leading to efficiency and eliminating post-harvest losses, thereby cutting down the cost of food all year round,” stated the ministers.

The private sector is targeted to operate and manage all the service centres and the assembly plants.

“It will create sustainable supply chain of agricultural raw materials for our large manufacturing companies to source locally, thereby saving billions of US dollars in food-related forex. It will train about 100,000 extension workers within three years,” they added.

Stressing the huge benefits of the agriculture programme to the nation, they explained that it will impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically, and revitalise the country’s research and extension service delivery through a five-year technology-package transfer component.

The federal government said the programme’s benefits included the transfer of technology from Brazil’s manufacturers and institutions to Nigeria.

Funds for the exercise are set to start coming in the next four weeks, through appropriation by the National Assembly.

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