BusinessDay

AATF appoints Jonathan brand ambassador

The Africa Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has appointed former Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan as Africa’s Ambassador for Agricultural Technology.

Canisius Kanangire, AATF’s executive director, made the announcement at the weekend after a meeting with Jonathan in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.

Kanangire explained that the appointment was informed by the former president’s record of championing agricultural transformation on the African continent.

He stated that though his administration ended in 2015, Jonathan has continued to spearhead efforts geared towards agricultural improvement on the continent.

Kanangire said that Jonathan’s commitment to uplifting agriculture in Africa was exemplified by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda he pursued and diligently implemented in Nigeria during his tenure as president.

He recalled that the agenda was targeted at increasing efficiency and profitability in some 12 selected key agricultural commodities, including cotton, cocoa, cassava, oil palm, maize, soya bean, onion, rice, livestock, fisheries, tomato and sorghum.

The executive director noted 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 chain activities with over N300 billion of additional income in the hands of Nigerian farmers and rural entrepreneurs.

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Kanangire said that in addition, over N60 billion (US$380 million) was injected into the economy from the substitution of 20% of bread wheat flour with cassava flour.

He pointed out that another critical element of Jonathan’s agricultural legacy 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 food imports.

His words: “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.”

According to him, Jonathan is a Pan Africanist who has stood for the eradication of rural poverty and the peaceful coexistence of the continent hence his continued involvement in peaceful conflict resolution on the continent.

He noted that as AATF’s Ambassador, Jonathan will advocate for advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth through application of innovative technologies and enhanced investment in agriculture.

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

Accepting the appointment, Jonathan said that as a former president, his interest in serving the continent is driven by the interest he has in driving food security and transformation for improved quality of life in Africa.