By Felicia Imohimi
The Agricultural Transformation Support Programme Phase one (ATASP-1) says it has injected 209,464 metric tonnes of food valued at N36.2 billion into the Nigeria economy.
Mr Ibrahim Arabi, National Programme Coordinator of the organisation said this while familiarizing himself with the media on Tuesday in Abuja.
Arabi noted that the programme which commenced operation in March 2015 with five years duration had the target of contributing 100,000 metric tonnes of food.
Arabi further noted that the programme had so far trained no fewer than 20,000 farmers and processors among others including women and youth on Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) and food processing.
“The programme has contributed to the food and nutrition security, job and wealth creation objectives of Nigeria’s agricultural policy. About 299, 651 jobs have been created compared with a target of 120,000.
“The increase of the income of farmers and entrepreneurs by 20.5 per cent at the programme’s Mid Term Review (MTR) gives confidence that the target of 25 per cent increase in income for beneficiaries is achievable at the end of the programme,“ he noted.
“Over 50 per cent of the programme beneficiaries have adopted the approved technologies introduced in respect of production, processing and post-harvest handling of rice, sorghum and cassava.
“Some of the beneficiaries that have adopted the Technologies promoted by ATASP-1 have been able to acquire additional assets through enhancement of income.
“As a result of the programme intervention, the areas under cultivation of the three commodities increased from 68,000 hectres target to 73,506.71 hectres,”Arabi noted.
Arabi noted that the primary goal of the programme was to contribute to poverty reduction, employment generation and wealth creation, import substitution, economic diversification and growth of Nigeria.
According to him, the programme is on-going in 200 rural communities, 33 Local Government Areas in seven states of the federation which are Anambra, Enugu, Niger, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and Sokoto.
The coordinator however identified the challenge of the programme as inadequate counterpart funding from stakeholders.
Arabi who noted some of the stakeholders as the states and local governments emphasised that though they are contributing but not as expected.