By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA-The Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, has unveiled an agricultural plan called Comprehensive Local Agriculture Plan, C-LAP, that would create over 1 million jobs at the rural areas.
This was disclosed during the official launch of C-LAP yesterday, in Abuja, by the Director, Projects and International Cooperation, C-LAP, Dr. Tanay Joshi, who said the project will facilitate utilisation of scarce natural, physical and financial resources, therefore create wealth and jobs for the teeming population.
Joshi said the initiative was targeted at integrated action plan to fast-track development of local government areas through agriculture sector, and also for infrastructural development that would support the agricultural development at the grassroots.
According to him the plan will enhance ability for achieving sustainable agricultural growth with food security and cropping system that will improve farmers’ income.
The project strategy include creating opportunities by building food processing industries in the LGAs and a customized mega food park for each state, making farmers, traders and processors as the principals agents of commercialization. Establish primary, secondary, tertiary markets at local levels to support distribution and export markets at national and level linking the farmers to markets and opportunities.
ALGON therefore adopts a bottom-up approach through the C-LAP at local government level of the agricultural sector. It will add value to agricultural raw materials and integrate Nigeria into world agricultural markets.
He said: “C-LAP is a bottom up approach which aims to eliminate hunger through agriculture policy reforms and initiatives that will help small scale farmers achieve sustainable food supplies, provide jobs, access markets and increase exports significantly. It will be implemented in the 774 local government areas over an initial five years period.
“Under this project, component of food security and livelihood enhancement have been given top priority. The project will intervene in all sectors of agriculture and in other to combat poverty and improve livelihoods across the nation and assure food security.”
In his remarks, chairman, local organising committee, Dr Balraj Sikka, explained that project will create wide range of opportunities for investors to come into the food value chains, which will take the business to the capital market that would make ALGON to have major benefits that would help it sustain its own.
“Aggregating 774 farms and linking these farms to a national retail chain, wholesale markets and mega food parks. To address the forward linkages; the project will design food mart retail chain model to create a network that delivers the agricultural produces straight to the door step of the consumers.
“It will help to create opportunities for private investors to invest in food chains and finally the business can be taken to the capital market so that ALGON has a major benefit and sustain at its own”, Sikka stated.