THE National Program Coordinator (NPC) of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase 1 (ATASP-1), Ibrahim Arabi has said that the Program through its interventions was able to produce 209,464 metric tons of food in Nigeria, valued at N36.2 billion.
Arabi who disclosed this during a media parley organized for journalists in Abuja, said the program which initial target was to produce 100,000 metric tons of food, also created 299,615 jobs.
The Federal Government of Nigeria secured a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the implementation of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme (ATASP-1) in 2015.
The program is ongoing in 200 rural communities, 33 local Government Areas in seven states of the federation including Anambra, Enugu, Niger, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and Sokoto with a land area of 194,426km and a population of 32,121,944 people who are predominantly farmers.
The Program commenced implementation in 2015. The Program is addressing the constraints of rice, sorghum and Cassava value chains in four staple crop processing zones of Adani-Omor, Bida-Badeggi, Kano-Jigawa and Kebbi-Sokoto.
The Program comprises three complementary and mutually reinforcing components, which includes infrastructure development, commodity value chain Development and Programme management.
Arabi said “since inception date, ATASP-1 has trained over 20,000 farmers and processors among others, including women and youths on Good Agronomic Practice (GAP) and food processing across the four zones.
“The program has contributed to the food and nutrition security, job and wealth creation objectives of Nigeria’s agricultural policy. About 299,615 jobs have been created compared with the target of 120,000”.
He further said that “209,464 metric tons of food valued at N36.2 billion has been injected into the economy as against a target of 100,000 metric tons, and the increase of income of farmers and entrepreneurs by 20.5 per cent at mid term review of the program gives confidence that the target of 25 per cent increase income for the program beneficiaries is achievable at the end of the program”.
“Over 50 per cent of program beneficiaries have adopted the improved technologies introduced in the respect of production, processing and Post harvest handling of rice, sorghum and cassava.
“Some of the program beneficiaries who have adopted the technologies promoted by ATASP-1 have been able to acquire additional assets through enhancement of income. As a result of the program intervention, the areas under cultivation of the three commodity increased fro, 68,000 hectares to 73,506 hectares”, Arabi added.
AfDB in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development developed ATASP-1, which has adopted a holistic approach to tackling the challenges confronting Agriculture in Nigeria.
The partnership is funding ATASP-1 to the tune of $174.85 million including grant facilities. The program became operative in February and subsequently launched in March 2015.