As part of efforts to help the nation achieve its food sufficiency target, a group of stakeholders in the agricultural sector have launched a Comprehensive Local Agricultural Plan (C-PLAN) to farmers at the 774 Local Governments in the country.
The initiative which is meant to create jobs, create market for farm produce and engage relevant partners across the value chain will be executed with supports from the association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).
Speaking at the project unveiling, Thursday in Abuja, Director in charge of Project and International Cooperation, Dr. Tanay Joshi said the initiative will involve strong participation from governments at the three tiers of government.
According to him, it will establish primary, secondary and tertiary markets at 774 local governments to support distribution and export market at national level by linking the farmers to markets and opportunities.
He stated that the project will create opportunities by building food processing industries and agro-equipment centres in the LGAs as well as customized mega food park for each state.
“C-LAP is adopting bottom-up approach from the LGAs. We will deploy technologies that are affordable and accessible. So we have prepared to purchase 3,874 tractors, 15, 048 combine harvesters and 24,668 farm tools,” Joshi said, adding that, “The main thrust of the experts and policy makers of C-LAP is to consider agricultural growth as a tool for poverty reduction and the need to diversify agricultural production on the basis of geographical locations and commercialisation of agro-products.
“This plan will also create business opportunities for franchise operators, jobs for the youth and reduce wastage of agricultural produce, as there is a defined retail network to absorb production.
“It will empower farmers and agripreneurs through self-employment as an option for generating additional income and boosting full-fledged livelihood sustainability.
“C-LAP will create opportunities for private investors to invest in food chains and the business can be taken to the capital market in three to four years to make the local government a financially viable tier of government,’’ he said
The Project Coordinator, Somachi Kachukwu said the project was designed to help small scale farmers to achieve sustainable food supply, jobs, access to market and increase exports.
Kachukwu stressed that the agricultural sector was facing stiff challenges that adversely impact overall economic growth and development of the nation, which in turn poses a threat to federal government vision 2020.
Dr. Balraj Sikka, Chief Operating Officer, C-LAP stated that the C-LAP is an integrated and participatory action plan for the development of LGAs in agriculture and allied sectors. It will add value to agricultural raw materials and integrate Nigeria into world agricultural markets.