FG boosts electricity access for farmers
By Bisola Adeyemo
As part of efforts to boost Agricultural communities, the federal government launched Energising Agriculture Programme (EAP) to enhance access to electricity in rural farming communities.
Speaking at the launch on Thursday in Abuja, the Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, said (REA) has focused on programmes that will have impact on rural communities.
He said, “For us, the key priority for the (REA ) is to ensure that the solutions we deploy in rural communities have both social and economic impacts on the lives of the people in those communities. Therefore, ensuring that electricity is used productively is a major priority for the REA.”
“Going forward, the REA will be using its strategic position to convene a Working Group for Agricultural Development and Electrification where relevant stakeholders will come together to exchange ideas, collate information and translate them into a pipeline of prospective energy-agriculture projects.”
Speaking further, the Director said (REA) programme will be done through a steering committee working with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with funding from the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAP). It will support farmers on energy-based agro-processing and irrigation tools, like solar water pumps, among others.
He noted that Accelerator Teams will deploy equipment that uses mini-grid electricity to solve pressing agricultural problems around five mini-grid sites for each team within an 18-month period.
According to the Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr Andrew Kwasari, said the programme launch is apt and complements other projects like the Solar Naija to create impact in rural communities.
In his comment, the Director of Engineering & Mechanisation in the Ministry of Agriculture, Engr Abdullahi Garba Abubakar, noted that there are 26 value-chains which the steering committee meeting can work with the ministry to energise agriculture outlets within the value-chains.
The Country Representative, GEAP, Mohammed Wakil, said this is probably the largest investment on energy in Nigeria by GEAP since its launch in 2021.