The Benue State Government will benefit from an agricultural program on innovative promotion of smallholder farmers and restoration of productive land.
The program will be implemented by the African Development Agency’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development, AUDA-NEPAD in collaboration with the state government and other private investors.
The National Coordinator and CEO of AUDA-NEPAD Nigeria, Princess Gloria Akopondo, revealed on Thursday, December 1, 2022 when she led a delegation to extend a courtesy call to Governor Samuel Ortom at Benue Peoples House, Makurdi.
According to the AUDA-NEPAD National Coordinator, the program aims to restore land for cultivation to enhance food security, taking into account climate change initiatives.
She emphasized that the AU’s Food Sufficiency Project and Zero Hunger Policy were aimed at engaging smallholder farmers in the state, noting that “it is the smallholder farmer who actually produces the food we eat and who also grows the economy through their contribution to the GDP.”
“Benue state, as we know, is the nation’s food basket, so when implementing this project, Benue is one of the key states because of what is known,” she affirmed.
She pointed out that the partnership with the state, working investors and the people will bring about “a revolution in development and economic growth.”
The National Coordinator stated that she is proud of the state government for the partnership and its commitment towards ensuring the realization of this project, noting that “our investors are happy and ready to start their projects immediately”.
She indicated that the program, when implemented, will add value to the economy, create job opportunities, and ensure food sufficiency, in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 on ending hunger.
She praised the readiness of the government of Governor Ortom in the areas of land development and budget commitment for the project in addition to providing the required data on smallholder farmers, forming the technical team among other things.
Two investors who were part of the AUDA-NEPAD delegation, CEO of Spades, Dr. Raymond Maynard, and Mr. Jeffrey Wexler, CEO of 3D-AG, gave technical presentations to the Governor on areas of interest for their investments.
Dr. Mirnard of Spades focused on environmental protection and land restoration, stressing that “climate change is a growing catastrophe in the entire world” which he said must be addressed to secure agricultural production.
He indicated that his company will facilitate forest investments by building afforestation capacities, restoring degraded lands, restoring mangroves, protecting nature reserves and others.
“No country can do this alone, we all have to come together, and what that means is that there is a strong reason for significant investment in developing countries, restoring soils and improving food security,” adding that there is a huge opportunity for everyone.
For his part, Mr. Wexler said that to promote sustainable development of smallholder farmers in the state, his company will invest in areas that provide resources in education, training, and soil amendment as well as the knowledge required to obtain adequate agricultural production through climate-smart agriculture and soil. Recovery.
In his remarks, Governor Ortom thanked the AUDA-NEPAD team for selecting Benue as the pilot country for the project, noting that the program had come at the right time.
He said, “This program is very fundamental, and I cherish and appreciate it. I want to assure you that my government will support you full time. We are willing to do partnership, whatever we need with our technical team in place let us know what we need to do, to be on top of it.” .
The governor expressed his happiness that the program will involve small farmers and provide them with support, describing it as a win-win initiative.
Governor Ortom emphasized that although Nigeria has huge potential in agriculture, “we have not been able to tap the potential to boost the economy,” stressing that “processing has been a very big challenge but we can turn it into a gold mine and attract investors, because many people are not like that “.
According to the governor, “Investing in processing will give our people the opportunity to add value to the economy, engage them and reduce the rate of insecurity in our country.”
Principal press secretary
December 2, 2022
BNSG to benefit from the AUDA-NEPAD program for smallholder farmers and to restore productive land