The rice revolution initiative has made Nigerian farmers to record an estimated $200m (N39.4bn) in net incomes in the past two years.
The development has therefore created wealth for the farmers and their communities, according to a policy expert and Coordinator of Africa Regional Climate Change Programme under the United Nations Environment Programme, Dr. Richard Munang.
He believes that diversifying into other sectors such as an optimised agro-sector, services and manufacturing will help boost growth in the sector.
Munang spoke in Abuja during the inauguration of the Nigerian chapter of Ecosystem-based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly, with the theme, ‘Reshaping Nigeria’s food security and climate resilience through EBAFOSA.’
At the event, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, who was represented by the Director of Administration in the ministry, Chris Ezeilo, said EBAFOSA which seeks to combat food insecurity, climate change, ecosystems degradation and poverty in Africa, using innovative approach, now has a membership of 2,000 in Nigeria.
Manung said that although Africa holds 65 per cent of the world’s arable land and 10 per cent of internal renewable fresh water sources and a projected agro-value chain worth $1tn by 2030, the reality on the ground was appalling.
While quoting the World Bank reports that in Africa, a 10 per cent increase in crop yields translates into approximately a seven per cent reduction in poverty, the policy expert said Nigeria was already demonstrating high potential of an optimised agro-sector.
He said, “Unleashing a rice revolution has produced 1.8 million metric tonnes of rice paddy within two years and created 460,000 jobs, especially for the youth. In addition, farmers’ net incomes increased by an estimated $200m, creating wealth for farmers and their communities. This is only a fraction of the potential Nigeria can realise.
“Distinguished guests, when Nigeria succeeds, Africa succeeds. Nigeria holds about one-fifth of the continents population. If empowered, this will be the largest consolidated market in the continent.”