By Gift Briton
Former Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has been appointed by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation(AATF) as the continent’s ambassador for agricultural technology following his track record of championing agricultural transformation on the continent.
Dr. Jonathan served as Nigerian President between 2010 and 2015 and had since been in the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent. With his new role as AATF’s ambassador, he is expected to advocate for the advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth through the application of innovative technologies and enhanced investment in agriculture as well as to accelerate the foundation’s ongoing efforts to improve its agricultural terrain.
Making the announcement after meeting with the former president in Yenagoa, Bayelsa South-South Nigeria during the week, AATF Executive Director, Dr. Canisius Kanangire said that Dr. 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, adding that, he is a Pan Africanist who had stood for the eradication of rural poverty and the peaceful and coexistence of the continent, hence his involvement in peaceful conflict resolution on the continent.
“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,” he said.
When accepting the appointment, Dr. Jonathan said that as a former Head of State, his interest in serving the continent is driven by the interest he has in driving food security and transformation for a better quality of life in Africa.
His Agricultural Transformation Agenda, which aimed at increasing efficiency and profitability in about 12 selected key agricultural commodities including cotton, cocoa, cassava, oil palm, maize, soya bean, onion, rice, livestock, fisheries, tomato and sorghum, led to the creation of more than 3.5 million new jobs in the country.
Another critical element of Dr. Jonathan’s agricultural legacy as President of Nigeria was his ability to cut down on the importation of food that can be produced locally, saving the nation over N1.3 trillion per annum on the importation of foodstuff.