Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has observed that the important role played by rural dwellers in food and livestock production presupposes that no effort should be spared by Governments at all levels to incentivize them by providing connectivity and access to boost their morale for sustainable economic growth.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya stated this at the launch of $575 million Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project, RAAMP, to provide roads for farmers and boost rural economy, which took place at the nation’s capital, Abuja.
The project was officially launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum.
RAAMP is an initiative of the Federal Government aimed at improving rural access and agriculture marketing in participating States and to strengthen the financing and institutional base for effective development, maintenance, and management of the rural road network.
The project is supported by the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), and International Development Association (IDA).
During the flag-off ceremony at the main auditorium of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs Governor Inuwa spoke on behalf of his colleagues from the participating states.
He noted that about 80 to 85 percent of Nigerians, especially in the North live in rural areas with agriculture as their major preoccupation.
He said that the ripple effect of Agricultural activities on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP )of the country is indispensable, assuring that Governors across the 36 states of the country will continue to give support to agricultural marketing and accessibility to farmers at the rural areas.
“We have given this commitment and we shall continue to do so, and we are happy that the project will be scaled up to all the remaining states so that it can cover the whole of the country which I believe the benefits are going to be enormous, especially in agricultural production which is an area that people are really engaged in”.
The Governor remarked that in Gombe State, his administration initiated a road revolution project- the network eleven hundred which seeks to provide at least one hundred kilometers of roads in each of the eleven Local Government Areas of the State.
He explained that the initiative, which started in 2020 has so far covered a total of 320 kilometers of roads, criss-crossing the length and breath of the State, opening up rural areas for increased agricultural and socio-economic activities.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya however observed with concern how roads across the country are left to deteriorate without a sustained action on maintenance and rehabilitation.
The Gombe State Governor assured that the 36 states Governors will commit to smooth implementation of RAAMP in order to ensure food sufficiency and create employment opportunities.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mahmood Abubakar said “the project will be jointly financed by the International Development Association, IDA, with a contribution of $280 million; French Development Agency (AFD) is contributing $230 million, and the Government is contributing $65 million respectively”.
There were goodwill messages from the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Country Directors of World Bank and AFD among others.
Ismaila Uba Misilli
( Press Affairs)