FG, Nigerian Civil Society Join ONE to Launch “Do Agric, It Pays” Campaign in Nigeria

Federal Minister of Agriculture and 2013 Forbes African of the Year, Akinwumi Adesina joined the ONE Campaign and several civil society and faith based organisations in Abuja, today to officially launch ONE’s Do Agric, It Pays campaign in Nigeria.
Adesina was joined at the event by ONE Africa Director Sipho S. Moyo, popstar and campaign champion D’banj, as well as civil society partners including NANTS, ASSAPIN, and Voices for Food Security.
First announced in January 2014 in Addis Ababa following the 22nd African Union Summit, ONE’s Do Agric campaign works with legislators, CSOs and the public to encourage African governments to commit increased strategic investments in agriculture and targeted policy reforms that will expand economic opportunities in agriculture for millions of people. The campaign was initially supported by TheTony Elumelu Foundation, which provided a scoping grant to bolster ONE’s activities within Nigeria and increase the focus on promoting entrepreneurship in the agriculture sector.
The AU has declared 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security, and leaders are expected to review their agricultural investment commitments at the next AU Summit in June 2014 in Equatorial Guinea.
ONE’s Do Agric campaign, in partnership with The Tony Elumelu Foundation, seeks to change public perception about agriculture, so that it is viewed as an attractive opportunity for business and employment for Africa’s young people.
Speaking at the launch event, H.E. Adesina said: “Agriculture has been for long a hidden gem for sustainable wealth creation in Nigeria and Africa. While other industries are dwindling in comparison, agriculture remains a viable investment frontier, which the federal government of Nigeria remains committed to unlocking for the continent’s young entrepreneurs. ONE’s Do Agric, It Pays campaign encapsulates this ideal, and we have a responsibility as leaders, not only in Nigeria, but across the continent, to own and support the campaign.”
Sipho S. Moyo noted that in spite of Nigeria’s laudable efforts in promoting agriculture, the country could not reach its full potential in the sector until necessary funding is unlocked to support the massive agro-active population.
“Nigeria is one of the African countries that have failed to meet its Maputo commitment of 2003, to invest at least 10 percent of national budgets on agriculture. Over the years, federal government investments in agriculture have unfortunately plummeted, and currently sit at 1.4% of the 2014 federal budget. Paradoxically, studies have shown that the multiplier effect of agricultural growth in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be 11 times greater in reducing poverty than in other non-agricultural sectors, such as utilities and mining.
This AU Year of Agriculture presents an opportunity for Nigeria to reverse these cuts and improve a vital sector on which the majority of Nigerian citizens depend. The Nigerian or African path to success cannot rely only on foreign direct investment or private sector commitments only,” she said.
Wiebe Boer, CEO of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, said in a statement in support of the launch that “Agriculture offers many opportunities for job creation, revenue generation and the production of more goods and services to benefit all. This is why our Founder, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has made impact investments through the Foundation in agriculture in Tanzania, Rwanda and Nigeria. We encourage other African business leaders to rise up to the task of driving investments in this sector across the continent.”
Moyo further quoted the example of countries that had achieved significant economic growth through direct public investment in agriculture, while urging the Nigerian government to emulate their actions and success.
“Between 1980 and 2010, China allocated an average of 8.7 percent of its budget to agriculture. As a result, agricultural GDP increased at an average annual rate of 4.5 percent between 1978 and 2009, and grain output grew faster than the country’s population, enabling it to feed 20 percent of the world’s population on just 11 percent of the world’s arable land,“ she explained..
“Through similar investments, Brazil has transformed itself from one of the world’s greatest food importers to the world’s top exporter of beef, poultry, tropical fruits, sugarcane, ethanol and tobacco, as well as the second largest exporter of soya bean.
“The remarkable advances in these countries have been spurred by targeted reforms in areas such as land tenure, research and development, irrigation and market development, all of which form part of the Do Agric, It Pays recommendations for Nigeria and other African countries. We urge the Nigerian government to not only work towards meeting its Maputo commitments, but also to pursue investments that target crucial areas including value chain development, public support to smallholder farmers, land rights, gender equality and youth economic empowerment.
Afropop superstar D’banj drew a comparison between the growth of the music industry in Nigeria and the potential growth of agriculture among the youths:
‘Several years ago, when we sought to enter the music industry in Nigeria, we met with a lot of resistance because the public thought music could not be profitable. Today, musicians are well paid and well respected. In the same way, we have identified a much greater resource in agriculture, and I am confident that the youths of Nigeria and Africa will join us in exploiting the vast gains that lie in that field. We want to be known as the Do Agric generation, and it starts with youths like myself. Therefore I call on Nigerian youth to join me in asking our government to treat this issue urgently to treble the current levels of investments in Agriculture targeted at youth and small holder farmers so that we all have a chance to compete globally.”
Speaking on behalf of the Nigerian civil society, Ken Ukaoha, President of NANTS said:
“We are all united here, from various public and private sectors, inrecognition of the importance of better investment in agriculture, and the leadership role that Nigeria needs to assume during this Year of Agriculture,” he said.
“Nigeria faces critical issues in agricultural development, including land tenure security, lack of youth participation because of technological development and finance, and market development that is needed to transform the lives of smallholder farmers. We need more and better investment, not only from private sectors, but most importantly from the government, to make urgent needed improvements. That is why we are championing the Do Agric, It Pays campaign,”
In July 2003 in Maputo, African Heads of State and Government endorsed the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, which included a commitment to allocate at least 10 percent of national budgets to agriculture and rural development, as well as to achieve six percent annual agricultural growth within five years. The Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) was set up by NEPAD to monitor the implementation of this Declaration. However, only 8 countries have met this promise.
The campaign calls on all Africans to sign an online petition calling on leaders to invest more and better in agriculture. The petition can be found at www.one.org/doagric.

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