Many African countries face challenges in accessing cutting-edge technology, which can be seen in the difficulty of the agriculture sector in integrating into global networks. African agriculture, led by smallholder farmers, has yet to be assimilated into digital fluxes, a situation that hinders the use of new applications and services to boost productivity. Although Nigeria is the top African economy in terms of GDP, regional disparities are evident, and its rural spaces are still suffering with poor infrastructure and low levels of mechanization, making connections between suppliers, producers, distributors and consumers extremely difficult.
Towards a Solution
The Green Imperative project champions the use of Brazilian technology for the development of agricultural mechanization to make farming a dignified venture for Nigerian people and, ultimately, increase agricultural production and boost food security. The solution for Nigeria is the connection of the agricultural value chain through an investment package: initial financing of over $1 billion has been set by the Governments of Brazil and Nigeria to be used for the improvement of the overall infrastructure in the rural areas of Nigeria. In partnership with the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), the Brazilian Machinery Manufacturers Association (ABIMAQ), Deutsche Bank and the Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social Development, the Government of Nigeria is focused on the construction of power plants, training structures and agroprocessing factories, with a special interest in the acquisition of rural machinery (tractors, drillers, seeders, cultivators, harvesters and more).
The methodology includes, as central components, technical training, technology transfer and industry integration, which are emphasized as means for achieving the structural and long-term development of Nigeria. The key objective of the programme is to scale up that country’s agriculture through close collaboration between Nigerian and Brazilian industries for the delivery and use of appropriate technologies to improve productivity in crops such as rice, cassava, cocoa, wheat, soya beans, maize, sugar cane and tomatoes in order to boost food production, improve food security, expand job growth and ultimately boost household income in Nigeria. With a duration of 10 years, the project will have two phases of implementation: (a) allocation of over $200 million for the creation of around 780 agricultural service centres as the poles for catalysing, through training and equipment-sharing, the increase in productivity; and (b) technology transfer from Brazil to Nigeria via the commercialization of agricultural equipment and inputs, such as tractors, planters, seeders, fertilizers and pesticides.
In terms of outcomes, the Green Imperative is still in the early stages of implementation, and despite the large size of the project, results achieved to date have been minor. With the execution of the first phase, the construction of 30 agricultural service centres in the most sensible rural areas serves as a pilot for the assessment of impacts and evaluation of risks, adapting the technical training to the specific demands of each location. Ultimately, the Brazil-Nigeria cooperation scheme is set to benefit over 100,000 young Nigerian professionals directly and more than 5 million Nigerian people indirectly; the transfer of technology, on the other hand, is set to involve the trade of 50,000 machines and equipment and 10,000 tractors, which will be assembled by professionals in Nigeria.
With the active and engaged participation of the Governments of Brazil and Nigeria through their respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Green Imperative is a part of the foreign agenda of each of these countries, thus representing a triangular cooperation initiative, with long-term goals for food security. With the participation of an educational institution (Getúlio Vargas Foundation), an industry association (Brazilian Machinery Manufacturers Association) and banking organizations (Deutsche Bank and the Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social Development), this good practice involves multiple efforts from many sectors of activity, which converge to serve as a sustainability factor for its practical implementation. With a holistic approach and a clear mandate in the agricultural and rural development fields, it is also replicable with proper political commitment.