Nigeria’s key development partners under the New Alliance Cooperative Agreement Framework/Grow Africa initiative are committed to a funding equivalent of N100bn ($500m) for the country’s agricultural sector for a three-year period, the Federal Government has said.

It also stated that international and local business establishments were committed to make investments of about $4bn (N800bn) in the agricultural sector.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Sonny Echono, disclosed this on the occasion of the validation workshop on the New Alliance Report involving Nigeria, private sector investors and its development partners.

The development partners, according to Echono, include the European Union, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany and the United States.

The permanent secretary, who was represented by the Director of Special Duties, FMARD, Mrs. Ademola Abiri, stated that the new alliance was a collaborative approach geared towards developing the agricultural sector of the Nigerian economy.

He said, “In Nigeria’s new alliance agreement, the government is committed to 13 major policy actions in the areas of seed and fertiliser, the Bank of Agriculture, agriculture insurance, nutrition, land tilting, staple crops processing zones, commodity exchange, enterprise registration and power availability.

“Key development partners including the EU, the UK, Japan, France, Germany and the US, are committed to funding equivalent to about $500m for Nigeria’s agriculture sector in the 2013 to 2016 period. International and local business establishments are committed to make investments of about $4bn in the agricultural sector.”

Echono said the Federal Government was hopeful that through the partnership, more investments would come to the sector as the FMARD would implement the 13 policy actions in order to improve the environment and attract investors.

He explained that the new alliance was formed in Nigeria in 2013 when the Federal Government, private sector players and the development partners made written commitments on key actions to be embarked upon.

This, he said, was in order to improve agricultural investments and food and nutrition security in line with the principles of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme.

He said, “Each stakeholder is therefore accountable to other stakeholders for commitments made. The Nigerian government made policy reform commitments while the private sector made commitments on the level of agricultural investments in the medium term. Development partners on their part committed to funding levels for the medium term. The civil society is to ensure that the commitments reflect the views of the intended beneficiaries.

“In order to assess progress, an annual report on the level of implementation of stakeholders’ commitments is produced at the national level and at the continental, African Union level. This report is discussed at the annual Africa-wide new alliance leadership council meeting, which normally takes place in June every year.”

He noted that the purpose of the workshop was to review the progress made so far under the alliance in order to produce a final document which would be submitted to the AU commission on August 31, 2015.