*Kwara Gov launches 10-year agric transformation plan*
•NEPAD, govt to spend $2bn to boost food security
•Plan, a product of consultations: Farmers’ body
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Friday launched a 10-year Agricultural Transformation Plan, which is designed to ensure food security, generate employment opportunities, and reduce poverty rate.
The plan is hinged in six pillars of crop production, finance, livestock, access to market, value chain, and cross-cutting programmes, the Governor said at the launch of the document in Ilorin, the state capital.
AbdulRazaq said the document comes with measurable milestones to ensure faithful implementations by all the stakeholders involved.
“It is a 10-year plan which is based on verifiable data gathered from field research and extensive consultations with various stakeholders and experts in the sector. The plan spells out the opportunities and challenges in the agricultural sector in the state, and identifies six pillars that are critical to the success of the plan,” AbdulRazaq at the launch attended by several stakeholders in agriculture virtually.
“These pillars are crop production, Finance, Livestock, access to market, value chain, and cross-cutting programmes. The document explains each of these pillars and the milestones to be reached in the course of its implementation,” he said.
AbdulRazaq explained that the plan also comes with detailed monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to constantly interrogate the journey while attention is also paid to sustainability.
“The essence of this document is to ensure food security, attract investments to the sector, create jobs, reduce poverty, and create inclusive growth by giving equal opportunities for women and girls to also benefit from everything that this plan has to offer,” he said.
“This week is one of the most exciting weeks because I met the French Ambassador to Nigeria who has agreed to send a team to Kwara State. He is particularly interested in agricultural sector, most especially the livestock sector.”
The Governor said he is also working to ink an agreement with the Lagos State Government on food production, adding that Kwara would be investing some $2bn in the agricultural sector in partnership with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), a platform of the African Union to advance economic growth on the continent.
“This will be anchored by a department at Kwara State University, Malete which will be at Ilesha Baruba. This administration will conclude the construction of that campus. The campus has extensive land which I have visited. So, NEPAD is investing in Kwara. I am also the chairman of the programme’s steering committee. It will make Kwara agriculture programme a huge success,” he added.
“I thank all the stakeholders, our partners and our team for the success of this work. However, the most challenging part is ensuring successful implementation of the plan to make Kwara food sufficient by 2030. This is achievable if everyone plays their part. As an administration, we will mobilise every resources in support of this dream.”
Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi Salihu said the administration of AbdulRazaq is making frantic efforts to improve rural road infrastructure for easy movement of farm produce.
“This plan, when well implemented, will improve the state’s internally generated revenue, which is very important. With the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), about 700kms will be taken care of and the Agricultural Transformation Plan will be a plus to us all in the state,” he said.
Technical Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture AbdulQowiy Olododo, for his part, explained that the plan is unique and comprehensive as it captures both the enormous potentials in the agricultural sector in Kwara and the actionable steps that would be taken to harness such potentials and turn them into tangible benefits for all.
“In line with the vision of the Governor, this Transformation Plan has been designed to deliver unending benefits to the people of Kwara State. The benefits include but are not limited to massive decent job creation for women and youths, improved nutrition, availability and affordability of quality food, rural infrastructure development, improved living standard and economic growth,” he said.
The state chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria Hon. Umar Muhammad Aboki commended the present administration for consulting with and involving farmers in the plan and for developing the sector to attain food security.
“(AbdulRazaq’s) words can be taken to the bank. We have absolute confidence in your leadership because of what you have demonstrated not only in agriculture but virtually all spheres of the economy. All farmers are following the trends of events and are very happy with your laudable programmes and projects,” he added.