The Rockefeller Foundation, global leaders in agriculture, will partner with the Federal Government to foster development in the nation’s agricultural sector. Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, said this on Tuesday when the President of the Foundation, Ms Judith Rodin, paid her a courtesy call in Abuja.
The Rockefeller Foundation, a prominent philanthropic organisation and private foundation based in New York, has funded several agricultural development programmes to expand food supplies around the world. “They are visiting Nigeria but they are very familiar with the country, having visited many times. They are here to see how Nigeria can take global lead among African countries in trying to drive agriculture as a key sector in pushing the economies of Africa. In creating jobs, in diversifying these economies and making them grow inclusively,’’ she said.
According to her, agriculture, is a wonderful sector where virtually all African countries have comparative advantage, adding that it has the potential to turn around the continent’s economies. “They think that Nigeria has the ability to lead in production, processing and financing end of agriculture in the continent and they want to talk to the President about how the country will take that lead. So, we are talking of ways and means we can work with them in trying to lead the continent,’’ she added.
Earlier, Rodin said that the foundation has a long history in understanding how to promote green revolution across the world.
She said that 50 years ago, the foundation championed the green revolution in Asian countries, which led to saving the lives of millions of people by reducing hunger and creating food security. This, she said, would be their focus, to ensure that Nigeria takes the lead in agricultural revolution in Africa. She noted that Nigeria had many challenges in fostering agricultural development, which the foundation would want to address, in the partnership with the Federal Government.
Nigeria, she also observed, had the potential to lead the continent in boosting agriculture with a view to developing its economy. She urged Nigerian youths to get involved in agriculture and see it as a major driver of the economy, which would help create jobs. In a remark, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, said that partnering with the foundation would go a long way in driving the government’s efforts to promote the agricultural sector. He said that the foundation would help in various areas, especially with ideas on access to finance and ensuring that Nigeria leads Africa in the agriculture sector.