Ms Gloria Akobundu, National Coordinator, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), has stated that to end hunger and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030, smallholder farmers’ capacity must be enhanced and strengthened.
She made this statement in Abuja at a stakeholders forum, tagged: “Strengthening Smallholder Farmers Capacities Towards Productive Land Restoration Amid COVID-19 in Nigeria.”
According to a news report by NAN, the National Coordinator of NEPAD said the forum is concerned with accelerating food security in Nigeria and cushioning the effect of COVID-19 towards building long-term resilience for sustainable economic growth and development.
According to her, government needs to take more proactive steps to improve nutrition and food supply. She, therefore, called on the Federal Government to effectively address the issue of hunger and food insecurity by actively involving smallholder farmers across the country.
She explained that this would not only help in winning the war against hunger and the widespread food insecurity in the country, but would go a long way to boost food production and strengthen economic resilience, in a bid to stimulate and enhance sustainable economic growth and development.
In this vein, Akobundu added that if the various intervention programmes were implemented, new jobs would be created, poverty reduced, while more youths would be engaged more positively.
What they are saying
The National Coordinator, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Ms Gloria Akobundu, said:
- “This forum is to support the ruggedness of President Muhammadu Buhari and the state governors in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 and stamping out hunger in Nigeria through various intervention programmes. I believe that the high level of commitment shown by the governors of the participating states is due to the realisation that agriculture plays an important role in the economic development of any nation. However, a fundamental requirement for achieving food security is the availability of land, We also figure that a massive investment into the agriculture sector will promote industrialization.”
The Lead Consultant of the various intervention programmes, Mr. Henry Semenitari, said:
- “We shall remain ready for your demands and needs. Everyone has a role in the value chain and no one will be at a loss. The programme will start at the bottom of the pyramid. NEPAD is ready. African Union Development Agency is ready. The governors and states are also ready. We are going to use modules and techniques, including local languages, to achieve maximum results.”
CBN Governor says 2.9 million farmers financed through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme
The CBN highlighted the great and untapped opportunity the Agriculture sector holds for the country.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mr. Godwin Emefiele visited Kebbi State to mark a significant milestone achieved by the Anchors Borrowers Programme.
The Anchors Borrowers Programme is a Federal Government Initiative with the objective of bridging the gap between small scale farmers and the financial sector in the country.
The CBN Governor speaking on the fifth anniversary of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) highlighted the great and untapped opportunity the Agriculture sector holds for the country,
The programme which was the flag-off of the 2020 wet season harvest aggregation and 2020 dry season input distribution under the CBN-Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) was hosted at Zauro, Kebbi State.
Emefiele stated that the Anchor Borrowers Programme is part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s initiative to spearhead the diversification of the Nigerian economy by improving the output of rural farmers.
Mr. Emefiele went further by highlighting the success of the initiative in since its inception. He listed the following;
- 2,923,937 farmers have benefitted from the Programme.
- 3,647,643 hectares have been cultivated by farmers under the Programme.
- 21 commodity sectors benefited from the program.
- In the 2020 wet season Banks under the CBN-RIFAN partnership financed 221,450 farmers for the cultivation of 221,450 hectares in 32 States.
On the overall success of the Anchor Programme, the CBN Governor stated that the popular rhetoric of agriculture being a neglected sector in the Nigerian economy is now a thing of the past. He stressed the need for Nigeria to start building up its agricultural reserves so as to be in a strong position when the rainy days arrive.
“The rhetoric around neglect of previous years will remain part of our history and the best time to correct those mistakes is now and every stakeholder must contribute their quota to guarantee the realization of these national targets.
“Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns globally have shown that nations only export out of their reserves. Let us start building our own reserves now,” Emefiele said.
On the successful partnership between the CBN, the Kebbi State Government and RIFAN, Mr. Emefiele expressed satisfaction with President Buhari’s Economic Sustainability Plan
The Kebbi State Governor Sen. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the president of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Alhaji Aminu Goronyo expressed gratitude to the Muhammadu Buhari administration for the successful Agricultural Programme.
What to know
- The President Buhari administration approved the revamping and resuscitation of the Nigerian Commodity Exchange to enhance post-harvest handling, guarantee effective pricing for farmers, and minimize the adverse effect of middlemen.
- The Central Bank of Nigeria flagged-off the 2020 input distribution to rice farmers and loan recovery drive under the RIFAN-CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
- The CBN made a N50bn commitment to the Nigerian Commodity Exchange in order to get it running at its best and impact the lives of small and medium farmers in Nigeria.
OPay defies COVID-19, gross transaction value surges 4.5 times to over $2 billion
OPay’s total gross transaction value on its platform grew 4.5 times to over $2 billion in December.
The Senior Executive team of OPay has disclosed that the leading mobile payment and financial service company grew its total gross transaction value on its platform 4.5 times to over $2 billion in December.
The managing Vice President for OPay in Nigeria, Joshua Yau, made this revelation at a press conference in Lagos, noting that amidst the global pandemic, lockdown which triggered global uncertainty, OPay had its most impactful and transformative year yet in 2020.
- The point-of-sale (POS) terminals deployed by OPay’s mobile money agent and merchant network represented roughly 1/5 of offline payments in Nigeria at year-end 2020.
- The mobile wallets have more than 2 million wallets with balances, totalling over $17 million.
- Opay network in recent time has over 300,000 agents and 5 million registered app users.
Iniabasi Akpan, the Country Manager of OPay who reviewed OPay’s operations and performance in 2020, provided insights on how the company was able to serve Nigerians by providing convenient access to cash.
Akpan in his statement at the press conference revealed that OPay had done impressively well in engaging Nigerians, creating jobs and means of livelihood for its agents and micro-merchants, through innovation.
He explained that the company through its keen focus to jumpstart digital wallet adoption in the country provided easy-to-access financial services for more than ten million Nigerians across all corners of the country.
According to him OPay’s agents also provided financial services for the unbanked population and those who are far from bank branches and ATMs, often in the outskirt of cities, or in rural areas.
What they are saying
- Speaking on the key role OPay played in sustaining the sources of income of its agents and merchants through its partners, Akpan said:
- “We believe that the impact we have made so far could not have been without our most important partners – our agents and merchants. By providing their customers with convenience, they were able to earn a solid income with many expanding their businesses, even in the difficult pandemic.”
- Akpan however made time out to correct the misconception of some Nigerians that OPay is a ride-hailing company, following sentiments on the shutdown of its ride-hailing segment in June 2020, he said:
- “Due to the visible brand of ORide – including its iconic green helmets – and its frequent everyday use, many customers gradually gained an impression that OPay is a ride-hailing company. We just want to take the time today to clarify and emphasise that OPay was and remains a payment and financial service company – a Payments Fintech. Our businesses are licensed and regulated by Central Bank of Nigeria – like any established financial institutions – and OPay is today one of the leading Fintechs in Nigeria.”
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