Former Nigeria President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has been named Africa Ambassador for agricultural technology by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).
The AATF, which supports African farmers in accessing agricultural technology, made the announcement yesterday.
Jonathan accepted the position after meeting with an AATF team In Nigeria led by the foundation’s executive director, Canisius Kanangire.
Kanangire 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 Nigerian agenda targeted increasing efficiency and profitability in 12 selected key agricultural commodities, which include: cotton, cocoa, cassava, palm oil, maize, soya bean, onion, rice, livestock, fisheries, tomato, and sorghum.
According to AATF, under the agenda about 3.5 million new jobs were created, based on the selected commodity crops and products, while many more jobs were created from other value chains activities. The foundation added that over N300 billion of additional income was in the hands of Nigerian farmers and rural entrepreneurs, as a result of the agenda.
In a statement, the foundation said, as AATF’s ambassador, Jonathan will advocate for ‘advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth’ through the ‘application of innovative technologies and enhanced investment in agriculture’.
Kanangire added: “AATF is honoured to have the former president as our ambassador, whose role will accelerate ongoing efforts to improve our agricultural terrain.
“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.”
Jonathan served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015 and had since been at the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent.
In his acceptance speech, Jonathan said that as a former head of state, his interest is in serving the continent, driven by the interest he has in driving food security and transformation for a better quality of life in Africa.