The Federal Government has requested the National Assembly to approve its $1.2 billion agricultural loan from Brazil.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, tendered the request on Tuesday when she appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance to defend her ministry’s 2021 budget.
AgroNigeria reported that the Federal Government in June announced that it was set to revolutionise Nigeria’s agriculture sector through the Green Imperative programme worth about US$1.2 billion.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, alongside the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, had announced the Green Imperative at a press conference in Abuja in June.
Mohammed during the conference had said that the programme would be implemented over a period of 5-10 years with funding from the Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) and Deutsche Bank.
The Information Minister had further explained that insurance for the programme would be provided by the Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency (ABGF) and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit (ICIEC) of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) with coordination from Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
The former All Progressive Congress spokesman had also explained that the Nigeria-Brazil Bilateral Agriculture Development Programme is the outcome of Nigeria’s decision dating back to June 6, 2016, to enroll in Brazil’s Government-Government More Food International Programme (MFIP).
The minister had also pointed out that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had launched the programme in January 2019, adding that representatives of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Deutsche Bank as well as those of the Brazilian and Nigerian private sector attended the launch.
Nigeria’s decision to enrol in the programme in 2016 was followed by several high level ministerial and technical visits and exchanges until December 2019 after the country signed the Bilateral Protocol of Intention with the Government of Brazil in March 2017.
On the benefits of the programme, Mohammed disclosed that six motor assembly plants would be reactivated under the programme.
These plants are expected to receive annual import supplies of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts of about 5,000 tractors and other implements for a period of 10 years.
Also, 142 agro-processing service centres for value addition are to be established under the programme with one centre in each senatorial district.
The minister had further disclosed that the programme will train about 100,000 extension workers within 3 years and establish 632 mechanization service centres to support primary production in the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal Capital Territory.
Also, 774 service centres are to be established nationwide to mechanise Nigeria’s farming methods and processes in addition to ensuring the transfer of technology from Brazil’s manufacturers and institutions to Nigeria.
“Private sector operators will operate and manage all the service centres and the assembly plants. The programme will create about 5 million jobs and inject over US$10 billion into the economy within 10 years.
“It [the programme] will create a sustainable supply chain of agricultural raw materials for our large manufacturing companies to source locally, thereby saving billions of US Dollars in food-related forex.
“It will impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically. It will revitalize our Research and Extension Service delivery through a five-year technology-package transfer component,” the former National Publicity Secretary of the APC had said.