The Federal Government has launched the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), to target over 2 million smallholder farmers across the country with the aim of producing 10 million metric tonnes of food within 12 months.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Andrew Kwasari, who made this known in a statement yesterday explained that the project seeks to enhance land productivity through food agronomic practices, extension services, and quality.
He added that project will eliminate post-harvest loses by collaborating with existing channels for off-take and storage such as existing commercial processors, aggregators, commodity exchanges, warehousing, and strategic grain reserves.
Kwasari said: “The AFJP targets two million smallholder farmers across the 36 states of Nigeria and FCT and aims to produce c.10m tonnes of food (Carbohydrates, animal protein, and edible oils) within the next 12 months.
“In collaboration with the N-power scheme–part of the Federal Government’s Social Intervention Programme, trained enumerators have been sent out to identify farmers and their farms to ensure proper targeting of beneficiaries.
“The farmers registration will also ensure appropriate linkages to quality private inputs and services supply scheme and reduce none performing loan rate which are caused by side selling, political farmers and inappropriate timing and targeting of loan disbursement.
“The priority crops and livestock targeted by the AFJP for local market are rice, maize, sorghum, soybeans, cowpea, cassava, Millet, livestock, horticulture, palm kernel, and cotton; while sesame seeds, hibiscus, cocoa, hides and skins; and horns and hoofs are targeted for exports.”
He explained that “AFJP is totally different from the Anchor Borrowers Pogramme which is a long-term programme launched in 2015 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and smallholder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities.”