Africa’s future billionaires and millionaires will make their money from agriculture, says Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, according to a report in Information Nigeria.
Adesina was named Forbes African of the Year in December 2013 for his reforms to Nigeria’s farming sector, according to a BBC report.
In his acceptance speech, Adesina said at the time he wanted to help people become rich through farming.
“My goal is to make as many millionaires, maybe even billionaires, from agriculture as possible,” he said, according to BBC.
African Development Bank is financing $170 million for a Nigerian project that aims to transform agriculture. The project aims to create agricultural entrepreneurs and producers by providing about 120,000 jobs along the value chain of priority commodities, InformationNigeria reports. An additional 20 million tons of key food crops including cassava, rice, and sorghum will be added to the domestic food supply each year, if all goes according to plan.
A significant part of the project is developing outreach models in agriculture with young entrepreneurs, aka youth agripreneurs. The plan is for agripreneurs to promote agriculture among other youth in their regions through peer education, training and demonstration of agricultural best practices, and business skills in value-chain development.
Adesina urged youth to see agriculture as a business, not as a tool for development. As African governments roll out plans to unlock wealth from the soil, Adesina said he predicts a new, wealthy population made up largely of young people adept at creating jobs and bringing business opportunities to rural communities across the continent.
“Today, major local and international investors are investing in (agriculture,” Adesina said. “The number of seed companies alone has risen dramatically and the banks are lending to the sector more than ever before.”
Adesina spoke at the launch of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase 1, a project of African Development Bank, Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, according to InformationNigeria.
Adesina is credited with helping bring transparency to the supply and distribution of fertilizer in Nigeria, which was subject in the past to massive corruption, BBC reports.