The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it will help Nigeria return to the electronic wallet system of input distribution to farmers to boost agricultural production.
Adesina disclosed this at a meeting with newsmen ahead of the Bank’s 2022 Annual Meetings in Accra, Ghana.
The system was initially designed by Adesina when he was Agriculture Minister in Nigeria and it helped cut out the middlemen and give farmers direct access to the funding required.
What Adesina is saying
He disclosed that during his time as Minister, the system enabled the FG to register 14.5 million farmers and reached them directly with inputs, notably seeds and fertilisers, via electronic coupons on their mobile phones.
He added that AfDB will support Nigeria with $30 million dollars reallocated fund to be used for an emergency food plan to produce in the dry season.
“Nigeria needs to go back and use the electronic wallet system that I developed when I was a minister to get fertilisers straight to farmers and cut out all the middlemen.
“We are going to help the government to do that because when farmers have quality seeds and fertilisers, they can rapidly triple food production,” he said.
“In Nigeria, we have provided 540 million dollars for special agro-industrial processing zones in seven states including the Federal Capital Territory.
“That will allow Nigeria to have special zones where you can have agro-processing value addition and increased competitiveness of agriculture.
“We are not alone, we put in 170 million dollars and others put in money such as the Islamic Development Bank and other partners,’’ he added.
Adesina also revealed the Bank was committed to avoiding a food crisis in Africa triggered by global value chain events, adding that this is based on the AfDB’s `High 5’ programme which centred on Feed Africa.
“Our Feed Africa `High 5’ work has already benefitted over 76 million farmers with access to improved agricultural technologies,” Adesina said.
He disclosed that Africa has 65% of arable land and should be a world provider of food. He said that the Bank was up to its challenges, highlighting Africa Emergency Food Production Plan with the African Union.
He said the AfDB will provide “20 million farmers with improved seeds and fertilizers, as well as other farm inputs to produce 38 million tonnes of food worth 12 billion dollars.
“The food would include 11 million tonnes of wheat, 18 million tonnes of maize, six million tonnes of rice and 2.5 million tonnes of soybeans.
”I am not scared of food crisis. To deal with anything that is a crisis, you must have a plan.
”Africa must be a solution for food for the world because we have 65 per cent of the arable land. Noise is not equal to data and fear is not a statistic.
”You may ask, why am I so confident that we will be able to avoid a looming food crisis?
”It is because our plan is based on the incredibly successful work of the African Development Bank through its `High 5’ on Feed Africa.
“The Bank has also been implementing a very successful programme Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) which is getting agricultural technologies to farmers at scale.
“Africa does not need bowls in hand, Africa needs seeds in the ground.
“Africa should not be begging for food; Africa must produce its own food. There is no dignity in begging for food,’’ he added.