The Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NAGB) has pledged $1.8 billion to assist smallholder farmers in 22 states of Nigeria, according to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sonny Echono.

Speaking at the first annual general meeting of the group in Lagos, Echono said the group had helped to foster economic growth in Nigeria through the provision of take-off grants for smallholder farmers.

According to him, the investments will create jobs for youths, women, and uplift millions of farmers out of poverty.

He said: “Your recognition that smallholder farmers are the largest private sector group in Nigeria has helped to foster economic growth in rural Nigeria as you provide guaranteed off-take markets for millions of smallholder farmers across the country.

“Sixteen of you have committed to invest in agriculture and agribusiness across 22 states of Nigeria a total $1.8 billion. Turning these commitments into real investments will undoubtedly help to create jobs for our teeming youth population and women and help to lift millions of farmers out of poverty.

“On this ground, we are together inaugurating the Agribusiness Investment Inter-Ministerial (AIM) Working Group today as a show of our commitment in delivery on our promise to facilitate your investments from early stage and throughout the investment lifecycle.

“The AIM Working Group, our Project Delivery Team will help to facilitate your investments and help to turn your commitments into real investments.”

Nigeria’s agriculture, he said, will be better positioned for inclusive growth together with the NABG.

According to him, working with NABG, will ensure that there will be no lack of information dissemination going forward.

“We are better positioned for inclusive growth where small, medium and large farmer groups will co-exist to generate wealth for millions of Nigeria and the unemployed youths and women. We have ended the dominance of government and I am optimistic that the private sector will lead Nigeria in restoring its past glory in agriculture. I am confident that the NABG will continue to play an important role in the new administration of H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR,” he said.

He expressed confident that the group will continue to attract viable local and foreign direct investments into agriculture and agribusiness together with their Development Partners and other MDAs.

By Pita Ochai


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