The African Agricultural Technology Foundation has announced the appointment of former President Goodluck Jonathan as the Africa’s Ambassador for Agricultural Technology.
The AATF Executive Director, Dr Canisius Kanangire, made the announcement in a statement issued to journalists in Abuja on Friday, after a meeting with the former president in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
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.
Jonathan, who served as the Nigerian President from 2010 to 2015, is said to be in the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent.
While accepting the appointment, he said as a former Head of State, his interest in serving the continent was driven by the interest in driving food security and transformation for better quality of life in Africa.
The AATF Executive Director said that Jonathan’s commitment to uplift agriculture on the continent was exemplified 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 said 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.
In addition, over N60 billion (US$380 million) injected into the economy from the substitution of 20% of bread wheat flour with cassava flour.
According to statement, 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.
“Dr 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,” Kanangire said.
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,” he added.