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Springtime in Kwara…As Gov. Abdulrazaq Revivifies the Agro-economy

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Springtime in Kwara…As Gov. Abdulrazaq Revivifies the Agro-economy

April 04
17:13 2022

With the Agricultural Transformation Plan (ATP), founded to ensure food security, generate employment opportunities, and reduce the poverty rate, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has revived Kwara’s agro-economic potential and is gradually positioning Kwara as the leading and most efficient food-producing state in Nigeria and West Africa.

Kwara State has lived through its dire winter of grief. Sixteen years under the yoke of two under-performing People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governors effectively rid the state of life and the people of hope. But as the aspen tree puts forth anew its silver leaf, Kwara has found sweet recourse in the humaneness, efficiency, and brilliance of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

Governor Abdulrazaq deserves all the accolades he gets – not just for his work on Kwara but also for its timing. In a deeply depressing time, when most states are distraught and still convalescing from the ravage of COVID-19, Abdulrazaq shows up to remind us what was waiting on the other side of the pandemic: the joy of connecting with people through sterling governance.

His case is different because unlike some of his peers, he inherited a state severely ravaged by inept leadership, corruption, and policy failure. Add these to the economic distress imposed by the pandemic and you have a perfect portrait of Kwara as a state in distress. He understands the benefit of building a vibrant atmosphere for farmers and agro-investors to thrive.

The governor’s mission was to position Kwara as the leading and most efficient food-producing state in Nigeria and West Africa by harnessing her enormous agricultural resources, human capital potential, and strategic geographical location to ensure food security, create wealth, decent employment for the teeming youths and women, provide raw materials for secondary production sector and produce for domestic and international consumption, thereby, leading to rural development, increased IGR of the state, and an improved standard of living for the people.

Thus, he launched a 10-year Agricultural Transformation Plan (ATP), founded to ensure food security, generate employment opportunities, and reduce the poverty rate. The plan is hinged on six pillars of crop production, finance, livestock, access to market, value chain, and cross-cutting programmes, the governor said during the launch. The initiative also aims to ensure food security, attract investments to the sector, create jobs, reduce poverty, and create inclusive growth by giving equal opportunities for women and girls to also benefit.

Governor Abdulrazaq stated that the initiative comes with measurable milestones to ensure faithful implementations by all the stakeholders involved. He said, “It is a 10-year plan based on verifiable data gathered from field research and extensive consultations with various stakeholders and experts in the sector. The plan spells out the opportunities and challenges in the agricultural sector in the state and identifies six pillars that are critical to the success of the plan.”

Against the backdrop of the ATP initiative, the governor also committed to an initiative to collaborate with the Lagos State government on food production. Further, Kwara would be investing some N2bn in the agricultural sector in partnership with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), a platform of the African Union to advance economic growth on the continent.

There is no gainsaying that Governor Abdulrazaq recognises the place of agriculture as a veritable driver of economic growth. His administration’s commitment to the refurbishment of rural and urban roads was meant to reduce travel time, boost productivity, and encourage investments in Kwara’s burgeoning agro-economy.

Over 700 kilometres of rural roads and several river crossings linking farming communities were listed to be fixed under the World Bank/Kwara partnership within the next years — and this was made possible by the government’s payment of N400m counterpart funds between 2019 and 2020.

The state chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Hon. Umar Muhammad Aboki equally commended Governor Abdulrazaq for consulting with and involving farmers in the plan and for developing the sector to attain food security.
From zero functional tractors that it inherited in 2019, the Abdulrazaq administration has purchased at least 15 new tractors, complemented with implements and sustainable plans, to support commercial farming, drive economic growth, and create jobs.

Recently, the state government flagged off the agricultural inputs subsidy scheme to support smallholder farmers with chemicals, improved seeds, and fertilisers at half market price. No fewer than 10,000 beneficiary farmers have been captured. The subsidy is an offshoot of the Beta Yield component of the transformation plan. Another component is the 500-hectare per local government Farm Kwara initiative, whose pilot scheme has berthed in Ifelodun local government, supported by the private sector to help young people and women through agribusiness.

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Mujeeb

Mujeeb

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