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Rural empowerment key to poverty alleviation – Akande

Rural empowerment key to poverty alleviation - Akande

Chairman of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Business Group Nigeria, Nike Akande, has assessed Nigeria’s developmental efforts and says rural empowerment is key to poverty alleviation.
Commending some companies, especially British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) for its commitment to poverty alleviation and efforts in stimulating socio-economic development, especially among the rural populace in Nigeria, Akande enjoined both the public and private sectors to engage in rural people empowerment to grow the economy.
Akande, who was represented by the head, NBGN Secretariat, Oluwole Dosunmu, in a dialogue session on smallholder farmers organised by the BATNF in Abuja, noted that the attention given to smallholder and rural farmers at the dialogue session was appropriate, considering its far-reaching impact.
“The emphasis of the dialogue on smallholder and rural farmers is apt and right. More than half of the nation’s population lives in the rural areas. They are mostly farmers and poor. Therefore, adequate attention to agriculture, especially efforts that will enhance the economic fortunes of the rural and smallholder farmers will automatically turn the nation’s economy around. This, however, cannot be achieved without the development of the value chain component across the agriculture sector,” she said in a statement.
Speaking further, Akande, who was once a minister of industry, stated that through relevant investments the private sector could help develop the desired agricultural value chain component provided that government “creates a conducive environment and provides direction with proper policies and regulations.”
Earlier in her opening remarks, Abimbola Okoya, executive director, BATNF, said the dialogue session was conceptualised three years ago with the goal of making the forum the voice of rural and smallholder farmers many of whom were often neglected. She expressed the desire of the Foundation to replicate the success of the first dialogue session held in 2015.
While explaining the theme of the dialogue session, which she said was on agriculture and smallholder farmers, Okoya also highlighted the achievements of the Foundation.
“The Foundation has increased support to smallholder farmers by 200 percent, improved their agricultural practices through capacity building, provided access to finance through input contribution and linkage to markets and ultimately aimed to move them from subsistence to commercial farming,” she said.
Similarly, the chairman of BATNF, Kola Jamodu, represented by a director in the Foundation, Yusuf Ageni, said the reason for convening the session was to proffer solutions that could improve the productivity of smallholder farmers, regardless of their environment in order to drive a stronger economy.
The dialogue session, titled ‘National Agriculture and the Smallholder Farmer,’ had in attendance research institutions, civil society organizations, commodity-based associations, government parastatals, international development partners, the academia and the private sector who gathered to deliberate on the implementation of the Federal Government’s Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP).

The post Rural empowerment key to poverty alleviation – Akande appeared first on BusinessDay : News you can trust.

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