Improving Food Production and Security In Nigeria

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Contact: Nancy Muchiri (n.muchiri@aatf-africa.org: +254 20 4223700/254 735 992 206)

African Agricultural Technology Foundation and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture sign Memorandum of Understanding

Collaboration to facilitate technology transfer and the commercialisation of new crop varieties to help achieve food security and alleviate poverty in Nigeria

ABUJA, Nigeria: 25 April 2014 - The African Agricultural Technology Foundation, (AATF) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Nigeria have today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will see the two collaborate in research programmes that will facilitate technology transfer and commercialisation of new crop varieties which will contribute to the achievement of food security and alleviation of poverty in Nigeria. Speaking during the signing ceremony held at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria Dr Akin Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development said that his Ministry recognises that they can work together with AATF to help smallholder farmers in Nigeria improve their crop yields through the use of new and better agricultural technologies.

“AATF is very excited with the numerous prospects this MOU offers us to be able to work with the Ministry to address food production and security in Nigeria” said Dr Denis T. Kyetere, Executive Director AATF. “We shall work together to identify agricultural problems faced by resource poor smallholder farmers in Nigeria which constrain increased food production and food security in the country” he said.

On their part Dr Adesina said, the Ministry will establish linkages between AATF and institutions in the country engaged in agricultural research and development and where possible identify agricultural problems faced by smallholder farmers in Nigeria.

Saying that smallholder farmers in Nigeria offer great potential towards enhancing food security and improved livelihoods, Dr Kyetere said there was need for interventions that will support the growth and meaningful participation of small farmers in the economic development agenda of Nigeria.

The mandate of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is to regulate agricultural research, agriculture and natural resources, forestry and veterinary research in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, AATF has been collaborating with partners in several projects which include the Cassava Mechanisation and Agro-processing (CAMAP) where AATF is supporting the Federal Government’s initiative on Cassava Transformation Plan and is currently working with the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation and has planted 200 hectares of cassava for the Federal Government in Kogi state. The project has also supported over 600 farmers since 2013 to plant over 600 hectares of cassava in Ogun, Kwara, Osun and Kogi states which will be harvested this year with an expected yield of 35-45 tonnes per hectare. The CAMAP project facilitates access to cassava mechanised farming equipment and processing technologies.

AATF is also partnering with the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) through the Institute of Agricultural Research to develop a Pod-borer resistant cowpea. The insect pest Maruca causes yield losses of up to 90 percent, resulting in production of poor quality grains and loss of revenue. AATF also participates in the control of aflatoxins in maize and peanuts which it collaborates with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture based in Ibadan. In partnership with the National Agricultural Biotechnology Development Agency and the ARCN, AATF is also providing a platform known as the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa for discussions on biotechnology and how Africa can utilise the technology to support agricultural development in Africa.

Currently working in 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), AATF facilitates access and delivery of affordable agricultural technologies for use by smallholder farmers in Africa. Priority areas for the Foundation include addressing targeted agricultural constraints facing these farmers which include the impact of climate change in agriculture; pest management; soil management, nutrient enhancement in foods; improved breeding methods; and mechanisation. These are addressed through the access, development and deployment of accessible, transferable, adaptable and proven technologies.

Current projects being coordinated by AATF include; Striga control in maize, development of insect resistant cowpea, improvement of banana for resistance to banana bacterial wilt, biological control of aflatoxin, drought tolerance in maize, development of nitrogen-use efficient, water-use efficient and salt tolerant rice varieties, hybrid rice and Seeds2B.

Dr Kyetere reiterated AATF’s commitment to honour the provisions of the MOU for the benefit of smallholder farmers in Nigeria saying that “with this MoU we can work together with the Ministry on various initiatives to eradicate poverty and assure food security, health and nutrition for the people of Nigeria”.

Reaffirming the commitment of the Ministry, Dr Adesina expressed the need for the two parties to explore options of mutual benefit and make them work for the good of Nigeria.

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About AATF (http://www.aatf-africa.org/)

The African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF) is a not-for-profit organisation designed to access, develop, adapt and deliver appropriate agricultural technologies for sustainable use by smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa through innovative partnerships and effective stewardship along the entire value chain. AATF provides expertise and know-how that facilitates the identification, access, development, delivery and utilisation of appropriate agricultural technologies. AATF works towards food security and poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa, and its structure and operations draw upon the best practices and resources of both the public and private sectors. AATF is a registered charity under the laws of England and Wales and has been given a tax-exempt status in the USA. It is incorporated in Kenya and in the UK and has been granted host country status by the Government of Kenya where it is headquartered and is registered as a charity in Nigeria.

About FAMARD (http://www.fmard.gov.ng/)

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is a Ministry whose mandate is to regulate agricultural research, agriculture and natural resources, forestry and veterinary research in Nigeria.

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