The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina says Africa’s future millionaires and billionaires will make their money from agriculture as the governments marshal out plans to unlock wealth from the soil.
Adesina made his prediction on Friday in Abuja as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase 1 (ATASP-1) at the federal capital territory.
The ATASP-1 is financed by AfDB to the tune of $170 million and aims at creating additional incomes to an increased number of producers and entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector in Nigeria by providing about 120,000 jobs along the value chain of priority commodities. An additional 20 million tons of key commodity food crops including cassava, rice, and sorghum will be added to the domestic food supply each year.
A significant part of the project is developing outreach models with young entrepreneurs in agriculture, “IITA youth agripreneurs”. The Agripreneurs are promoting agriculture among other young people in their regions through peer education, training and demonstration of agricultural best practices, and business skills in value chain development.
Adesina underlined that “Africa’s future millionaires and billionaires will make their money from agriculture,” as the governments marshal out plans to unlock wealth from the soil. He estimated that the bulk of this new wealthy population will be made up of young people adept at creating jobs for millions in each African country and bringing business opportunities to rural communities all across the continent. He therefore urged the youth to stop seeing agriculture as a tool for development but as a business.
“Today, major local and international investors are investing in this sector. The number of seed companies alone has risen dramatically and the banks are lending to the sector more than ever before,” he said.