How we are partnering Nigerian government to boost agricultural productivity 

In this interview, the Programme Officer, Policy and Partnerships, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Nigeria, Thomas Arokoyo speaks on partnership between Nigerian government and AGRA in advancing agriculture. People’s Trust brings excerpts. 
How is AGRA collaborating with Nigerian Government, what are the current partnerships and how can the ties be strengthened? 
As a PAN African institution, AGRA-Nigeria is working within the existing agricultural policies of the federal and concerned state governments. These policies are geared towards increasing the income of Small Holder Farmers, enhancing food security as well as improving their livelihood in a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable manner.
AGRA works with government both at states and Federal levels through our state Capability as well as our Policy and advocacy units. Working with government to strengthen execution capacity while enhancing accountability systems and enabling environment for increased public and private sector investment
In the current Strategy, AGRA has supported the enactment of Three (3) laws, these are the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) Act, 2019, Fertilizer Quality Control Act, 2019 and Plant Variety Protection Act 2021. These are laws to support Agricultural Transformation in Nigeria to unbundle the hidden wealth in Agriculture for the full benefit of Nigerians at all levels both now and the future. In addition to these laws, AGRA supported the development of the Nigerian Agricultural investment Plan (NAIP) II based on the Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP) or Green Alternative, support for the Biennial Review (BR) Process, support for the development of a New Agriculture Extension Service System, development of an Institutional Capacity Strengthening Plan. In the pipeline are supports for an improvement in the budget process for an improved capacity for judicious fund utilization to engender an increase in the National budget allocation to Agriculture in line with the Malabo declaration of AU-NEPAD and CAADP that requires African countries to allocate at least 10% of their annual budget to Agriculture, support to the federal strategic and Food Reserve department for stored Commodity inventory control and improved monitoring system for the unit and support for the enactment of the Food safety law. All these are at the Federal level. At the state level, AGRA is working through the Kaduna and Niger state governments to produce Agriculture development Policy, States’ Agricultural Development Plans, Agric. Sector coordination system, establishment of E-Library for M&E unit of the State Ministry of Agriculture, Capacity building for Kaduna and Niger States’ Ministries of Agriculture to improve the planning and coordination capacity of these states as well as flagship development.
In terms of partnerships, AGRA works with various types of partners such as the Private sectors, other development organizations, NGOs/CSOs, Farmers groups, research Institutions to catalyse the desired innovative change in the Agricultural space through the Small Holder Farmers. AGRA’s Partners could be classified into four:
Development Partners- Partners who provide direct financial support to AGRA or its programs, they include Multilateral Institutions, Private Foundations, Bilateral Donors and DFIs as well as High net worth individual. Examples are BMGF, Rockefeller foundation, Syngenta Foundation, WB, AfDB, IsDB, IFAD, DFID, BMZ/KfW, USAID, EU
. Private Sector – Private companies not controlled by Govts. They include Regional Companies, multinational companies, National companies, FSIs & Investment funds and Multi-plex. Examples include TATA/John Deere, Dangote, OLAM, AFEX, Nestle, OCP, Banks, Insurance companies, Seed companies, Fertilizer companies etc.
Technical and Implementing Partners – Partners who deliver on AGRA’s programs either through grants, contracts, partnerships etc. They include Research Institutions, Farmer based organizations/cooperatives, consultants and advocacy organizations. Examples are IFPRI, NAERLS, IAR, FEPSAN, SEEDAN, NOCAIDA, NOWAIDA, NCRI, IITA, HarvestPlus, SG2000
Government / State Actors – Govt ministries, agency & local govts., Regional agencies or authorities, Investment promotion entities. They include Ministries of Agriculture/ County govts, AU/ECOWAS/EAC/COMESA, NIPC, NEPC etc – FMARD, FMoFBNP, FMITI, NGSG. KDSG.
These ties can be strengthened when there is value for monies invested or leveraged, greater visibility to AGRA’s work especially the successes recorded in terms of innovative changes catalyzed by the partnerships, advocacy.
Each alliance partner brings specifically targeted value. Leveraging these complementary skills, AGRA provides an integrated approach to the African green revolution. The partnerships bring the following values to AGRA’s work:
Provide direct financial support to AGRA / its programs
Provide strategic partnership – Other resources, capabilities, voice, and guidance on development issues
Link AGRA with their wider portfolios and their networks of influence.
Prime movers of rural, agricultural and economic development. They set national and local priorities, policies, and investments and may also play a coordinating role; therefore their buy in is critical
Potentially the greatest source of leverage for AGRA’s work
Key to scaling and sustainability of Ag systems
Provide Agribusiness links SHF’s to access yield-enhancing inputs, post-harvest management, logistics and markets that can deliver returns to farmers.
Their investment in Ag. systems is a critical element of scaling and sustainability for AGRA’s work.
Deliver on AGRA’s programs either through grants, contracts, partnerships etc. to reach farmers and other value chain actors
Civil society – are important in shaping opinions and can amplify AGRA’s messaging to promote agricultural transformation and highlight our achievements
Can we get more specific topics on AGRA collaborating with government and examples. The PVP bill passed etc.
The Plant Viareity Protection bill 2021 came into existence with the  help of AGRA-Nigeria and the  National Agricultural Seed council (NASC). The PVP is a complement of the NASC Act, 2019.
The PVP bill seeks to protect breeders in other to gain the maximum benefits from the various breeds they develop by ensuring they have intellectual property rights on their works.
 The bill is also aimed at encouraging scientist,  Agro dealers and breeders  develop improved varieties of plants that will help In the production of quality food across the country.  The bill also seeks to  supply farmers with various options of crops that can be used in the farm.
The NASC Act was to guarantee farmers access to good quality seed and eliminate fake and poor quality seed in the seed space. It seeks to engender trust in the minds of SHF enough to encourage them to continue to seek and use certified seed (which guarantees higher yields) instead of recycling grains (which have no potentials for high yields)
The Fertilizer Quality Control Act 2019 and the Seed Council Act 2019 are similar examples of laws that were enacted  to protect small holder farmers and also aid in the production of quality fertilizers and Seeds across the country. With appropriate agricultural practice, farmers accessing improved seed and right quality of fertilizers can achieve increased yields, with access to good markets at competitive prices, they can increase income thus improved food security among other benefits such as job creation for the teaming population especially the youth, import substitution.
At the state (Niger and Kaduna) levels, AGRA is working through the Kaduna and Niger state governments to produce Agriculture development Policy, States’ Agricultural Development Plans, Agric. Sector coordination system, establishment of E-Library for M&E unit of the State Ministry of Agriculture, Capacity building for Kaduna and Niger States’ Ministries of Agriculture to improve the planning and coordination capacity of these states as well as flagship development.
What are the current partnerships with the government and AGRA relating to agribusinesses, SMEs and smallholder famers?
A Current Partnership with Government relating to Agribusess, SMEs and Small Holder Farmers is the Flagship Grant in Kaduna State called BOOSTING AGRICULTURAL GRAINS AND SERVICES (BAGS). This partnership with Kaduna state helps to crowd in investors for various Agricultural value chains for which the state has comparative advantage in producing. This is to boost the potential of the state in Agribusiness development and enhance maximum benefit to the small Holder farmers while improving the food security of the state. Since it includes some element of livestock development especially Dairy production, this will also help to significantly reduce the farmer-herder clashes that is so common and often threatens the peace and prosperity of the state.
The Partnerships in the two state government levels for improved coordination in the Agri-business space is another.
Other partnerships are geared towards improving the innovative capability of small holder farmers. AGRA is also partnering with Agro dealers towards extending the various agro-Input and services  to rural farmers in order improve the food production process.
Do we look forward to more partnerships between AGRA and the federal government? 
AGRA-Nigeria is open to roburst partnership with the government. The future is bright for agriculture in Nigeria and we hope to achieve many more in line with our supporting principles. There are some pipelines as indicated in my first response above. In addition to those, AGRA is poised to carry out the NAIP III as soon as the new FMARD Agricultural Policy, the “National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan” – (NATIP) is made public. There are a couple of others proposed for the next strategy of AGRA

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