Opinion

Boosting Agriculture: What You Need to Know About Nigeria-Brazil Green Imperative Programme

Fredrick Nwabufo

BOOSTING AGRICULTURE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NIGERIA-BRAZIL GREEN IMPERATIVE PROGRAMME

What is the Green Imperative Programme (GIP)?

GIP is a bilateral initiative of the federal government of Nigeria and Brazil, first launched in 2019. The programme is designed to strengthen the capacity of smallholder farmers deploying the Brazilian model of providing support to agrarian development projects to stimulate massive and sustainable agricultural productivity along varying bands of food staples.

The Objective

The aim of the initiative, among other goals, is to enhance agricultural mechanisation, specialised extension services, and agro-processing in all 774 local government areas of the federation and the six area councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Nigeria seeks to develop an agriculture sector that is ensconced on a sustainable private business model, through a food value-chain approach, involving technology solutions transfer, and encompassing all stages, from production to industrial processing and marketing.

How will the programme be funded?

The Brazilian government is funding the project with a loan of $1.1 billion from three banks namely, Deutsche Bank (DB), Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), and the Islamic Development Bank at 3 percent interest rate over a period of 15 years, including a moratorium of three years for BNDES, and seven years, including two years moratorium, for DB.

What are the benefits?

This project is a defining initiative that will transform the agricultural sector. With the funding, Nigeria will acquire: (1)10,000 units of tractors; (2) 50,000 units of assorted implements and equipment for assembly in Nigeria, (3) training of project beneficiaries over 10 years, (4) establishment of 780 service centres in Nigeria that will help smallholder farmers prepare the soil, cultivate, produce, and harvest farm produce, as well as maintain farm equipment. The project is expected to benefit 100,000 young people directly and to impact 5 million people indirectly.

Training and farm machinery plant set-up

A team of experts will be sent to Nigeria for a duration of five years to train farmers and entrepreneurs on improved methods of agriculture and farming. Plants will be set up in Nigeria to assemble farm machinery and implements, which will be distributed to service centres to be located in all the 109 senatorial districts of the country. The service centres will, in turn, lease the machinery to farmers for a short period of time, after which they will be returned to the centres.

Business model

The key field-level players will be the assembly plants owned by private operators, the service centres provided by established farmers and agricultural enterprises who are already landowners and involved in agricultural production and processing, local commercial and development banks, the Central Bank of Nigeria, local insurance companies, etc.

The assembly plants (CKD)

CKD stands for Completely Knocked Down, which implies products or items delivered in parts for assembly. The primary advantage of CKD is the elimination of high import duties fixed on finished products. The first two CKD plants, among a total of six, identified by the project, to assemble tractors and implements, will be located at Steyr Limited in Bauchi, and National Trucks Manufacturers Limited, Kano, in the Northeast and the Northwest, respectively, owing to the high level of agricultural activities in these regions. Also, private operators own these already existing facilities.

The service centres

The service centres will be the fulcrum of the structure for project implementation. They will offer a rich blend of services consisting of machinery and equipment services (agricultural mechanisation and processing), quality input (hybrid seed varieties, fertilisers, and pesticides), technical assistance and training to the smallholder farmers in order to ensure consistent results of productivity and improved quality of agricultural produce.

In total, 780 privately-operated service centres will be created and evenly distributed throughout the country. The centres will be established based on value chains, in accordance with the comparative and complementary advantage of each region, state, and the local government area where they are located.

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