Agric foundation targets 16m farmers to increase food production
The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has said it will empower 16 million farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa to become globally competitive using the best technology and optimal agricultural practices to boost food production.
Besides, it will endeavour to create a thriving engagement of youths and women in the technology transfer process and will continue to invest resources in the advancement of biotechnology, mechanisation and digital agriculture in Africa.
Its Executive Director, Denis Kyetere, in a briefing in Abuja, explained that they intended to offer a great opportunity for growth in the agriculture space, adding that they are trying to reach farmers to increase their incomes by at least 20 per cent.
Through agricultural transformation that will lead to food and nutrition security and increased income, Africa and Nigeria in particular, are expected to emerge as the next growth market in the world for the benefit of all.
“We will engage private sector development in agribusinesses, such as seed business, agricultural production and value addition. It will result in creating opportunities and new jobs for the youth, and stimulate the effectiveness in the system,” he said.
Explaining further, the Executive Director maintained that many African farmers were still unable to obtain advanced inputs and machinery, and could not access markets that would enable them to get fair prices for their products and invest in their farms.
He, therefore, argued that weakness in the agriculture value chain hinders growth, prevents innovations and limits the capacity of farmers to get their product to national and regional markets, with the result that Africa has to import $50 billion worth of food yearly.
“The AATF goal is to reach 16 million smallholder farmers by 2022, directly giving them access to transformative technologies, or through the partnerships that they are building with other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain on crops like maize, cowpea, banana, rice, potato and cassava,” he added.