NEPAD solicits private sector investment in Africa’s Agricultural sector

Mnena Iyorkegh, Abuja

The National Coordinator NEPAD Nigeria, Princess Gloria Akobundu, has described the just-ended Multi-Stakeholder Consultative Meeting on Boosting Private-sector Investment in Nigerian Agriculture, which was held in Lagos,  as a call to action for Africa to rise up to the challenge to ascend to a pedestal of global relevance and significance by contributing its quota to global food and nutrition needs.
Princess Akobundu, who stated this at the meeting, also, informed participants that the African Union (AU) initiative to accelerate agricultural growth, improve food security and strengthen the resilience of the environment in Africa is the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
She said “the aim of the programme, which is being driven by NEPAD Nigeria, is to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum of 10% of national budgets and raise agricultural productivity by, at least, 6%.”
While lauding the efforts of the organisers of the programme, she emphasised that ‘‘Forging the right partnership is crucial for the agriculture sector in Nigeria to realise its full potential for economic growth and job creation, particularly, among farmers, women and youths, this the agriculture sector offers an avenue to gainfully engage them to realise their full potential’’.
She, also, challenged the meeting to bring up outcomes that will have positive impacts on women and youths, if they must be encouraged to venture into agriculture as investment.
While identifying limited access to financing and inputs by farmers as one of the challenges that faces agriculture in Nigeria, Akobundu said other factors such as,  Serious threat of climate change on yield, security threats to agriculture investments, including cattle rustling, kidnapping and destruction of farmlands by herdsmen, have also proven to be major setbacks to farmers.
She therefore advocate for private-sector partnership and support to deliver on the objectives of the programme.