As part of its efforts towards the development of the agricultural sector, the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase 1 (ATASP-1) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has entered into partnership with the Federal Government to provide irrigation facilities, farm inputs and feeder roads in rural areas.

This was made known to newsmen at the Mid-Term Review of ATASP-1 in Abuja, last week by its National Coordinator, Mr. Haruna Akwashiki. He said that the meeting was organized, to know the successes, challenges and way forward, while stating that the second phase of the programme would commence immediately.

He noted that the youths training and empowerment, agro-processing and provision of simple post-harvest equipment would also be given priority during the second phase of the programme. Akwashiki stressed that the goal of the programme is to create about 120,000 jobs, training and empowerment of 200,000 youths and women as well as the production of 20,000 metric tonnes of rice, cassava and sorghum.

He stated that the Mid- Term Review was facilitated to measure the performance of the programme’s first phase, discuss its achievements, challenges and brainstorm on possible ways forward into the second phase. ‘‘I sincerely believe that the review will consolidate ATASP-1 achievements and strengthen the commitment of our donor, the AfDB.

“ATASP-1 will focus on rural infrastructure, youth training and empowerment, agro-processing, provision of basic inputs like fertilisers, seeds, agro-chemical to farmers. The programme is addressing the constraints of rice, sorghum and cassava value chains in four staple crops processing zones,” he added.

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