Former Nigerian President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan accepted AATF’s appointment as Africa’s Ambassador of Agricultural Technology.
Making the announcement after meeting the former president in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, south-south Nigeria earlier in the week, AATF chief executive Dr Canisius Kanangire said the appointment was based on His Excellence in defending agricultural transformation on the continent. .
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is a Nigerian politician who served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015 and has been at the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent ever since.
Accepting the appointment, Dr. Jonathan said that as a former Head of State, his interest in serving the continent is driven by his interest in advancing food security and transformation for a better quality of life in Africa.
Dr. Kanangire said that Dr. Jonathan’s commitment to improving agriculture on the continent was exemplified by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda that he diligently pursued and implemented in Nigeria during his tenure as president.
The agenda focused on increasing efficiency and profitability in some 12 selected key agricultural products, including: cotton, cocoa, cassava, palm oil, corn, soybeans, onion, rice, cattle, fish, tomato, and sorghum.
According to the agenda, around 3.5 million new jobs were created based on the selected key products, while many more jobs were created from other value chain activities, with more than 300,000 millions of Naira of additional income in the hands of Nigerian farmers and rural entrepreneurs. Also, more than N60 billion ($380 million) injected into the economy from the substitution of 20% of bread wheat flour with cassava flour.
Another critical element of Dr. Goodluck’s agricultural legacy as President of Nigeria was his ability to reduce the importation of food that can be produced locally, saving the nation over N1.3 trillion per year on food imports.
“Dr Jonathan was able to show in Nigeria that agriculture needs to be treated like a business and supported by relevant policies to improve the livelihoods of our growing farming population,” he said.
According to the Executive Director, Dr. Jonathan is a pan-Africanist who defended the eradication of rural poverty and the peaceful coexistence of the continent, hence his involvement in the peaceful resolution of conflicts on the continent.
As an AATF Ambassador, Dr. Jonathan will advocate for the advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth through the application of innovative technologies and increased investment in agriculture.
“AATF is honored to have the former president as our ambassador, whose role will accelerate ongoing efforts to improve our agricultural land,” said Dr. Kanangire.