Heifer International, a global non-profit economic development institution, has opened up discussions with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) with a view to stimulating economic growth by linking diaspora investments to Nigerian agribusinesses.
Rufus Idris, country director, Heifer International-Nigeria, made the disclosure during the fourth edition of the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit themed, “Partnerships and Linkages for Post-COVID Economic Growth,” in Abuja.
Idris, who emphasised that Nigeria has a growing population of over 200 million people and is expected to hit 400 million by 2050, explained that Heifer seeks to provide a sustainable system of food self-sufficiency through the formation of workable plans to pull diaspora investors into investing in the country’s buoyant agriculture sector.
Citing a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari, which placed Nigeria’s diaspora remittance at an estimated $25 billion, about 80 percent of Nigeria’s annual budget and about six percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the Heifer director asserted that the huge amount of remittances from Nigerians in the diaspora can be effectively channelled into growing the country’s livestock production and boosting the agriculture sector.
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“That’s a huge amount of money. What we are doing here is trying to see how we collaborate with other organisations that can help us channel diaspora investment into the agricultural sector to address areas where we have problems, and such investments can help unlock those areas,” he explained.
Highlighting the specific areas of agriculture in which Heifer wants to partner diaspora investors, Idris said the non-profit organisation was looking at different sub-sectors in the value-chain where Nigeria had comparative advantage, including, rice value chain, tomato value chain, poultry value chain, some of the ruminant value chain like cattle, as well as other key areas in the sector.
He further noted that Heifer is making efforts to help improve and increase production, productivity and competitiveness and also bring in technology to help scale the impact and contribution within the agricultural sector.
According to him, Heifer’s ambitious agriculture investment is targeted at helping improve local production to meet fast growing demands, investing in youth creativity and agricultural technology to drive economic growth in Nigeria, and help at least 10 million households achieve sustainable living income by 2030.
Commenting on the recently launched Heifer Tractor Initiative, Idris disclosed that the project is targeted at improving mechanised tractor business for smallholder farmers, adding that the organisation is in partnership with Hello Tractor, using the Pay as you Go’ tractor model to make usable tractors readily available to local farmers.
He added that the initiative also includes the provision of other components that come with the tractor, like harrower, harvester, plougher, planters and other components having a shortage in the country.