Jonathan becomes Africa’s ambassador for agricultural technology

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Nigeria’s former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has become Africa’s Ambassador for Agricultural Technology.

This was announced in a statement issued to newsmen on Friday in Abuja by the Executive Director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Canisius Kanangire, after a meeting with the former president in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

Kanangire explained that as AATF’s Ambassador, Jonathan is expected to advocate for advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth through application of innovative technologies and enhanced investment in agriculture.

Jonathan, who served as Nigerian President from 2010 to 2015, is reportedly in the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent.

While accepting the appointment, Jonathan revealed that as a former president, his interest in serving the continent was driven by the interest in driving food security and transformation for better quality of life in Africa.

Kanangire noted that Jonathan’s commitment to uplift agriculture on the continent was shown by the agricultural transformation agenda he pursued and diligently implemented in Nigeria during his tenure as President.

The agenda targeted increasing efficiency and profitability in about 12 selected key agricultural commodities, which include: cotton, cocoa, cassava, oil palm, maize, soya bean, onion, rice, livestock, fisheries, tomato and sorghum.

Kanangire revealed that under the agenda, about 3.5 million new jobs were created based on the selected key products, while many more jobs were created from other value chains activities, with over N300 billions of additional income in the hands of Nigerian farmers and rural entrepreneurs.

He added that over N60 billion ($380 million) injected into the economy from the substitution of 20% of bread wheat flour with cassava flour.

According to him, another critical element of Jonathan’s agricultural legacy as President of Nigeria was his ability to cut down on the importation of food that could be produced locally, thereby saving the nation well over N1.3 trillion per annum on the importation of foodstuff.

Kanangire said “Jonathan was able to demonstrate in Nigeria that agriculture should be treated as a business and supported by relevant policies for the improvement of the livelihoods of our growing farming population”.

He described Jonathan as a Pan Africanist who had stood for the eradication of rural poverty and the peaceful coexistence of the continent, hence his involvement in peaceful conflict resolution on the continent.

“AATF is honoured to have the former president as our Ambassador, whose role will accelerate ongoing efforts to improve our agricultural terrain”.