REA Launches New Program to Boost GDP, Accelerate Renewable Energy and Unlock Agricultural Productivity in Nigeria

The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency, in collaboration with RMI, and support from the Alliance, launches the Energizing Agriculture Program to catalyze economic development and improve rural livelihoods in Nigeria through linking mini-grids and agricultural productivity.

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The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and RMI, an independent nonprofit focused on transforming the global energy system to secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all, officially launch the Energizing Agriculture Program (EAP).

The EAP is a three-year initiative with the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), with funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, that aims to stimulate the use of mini-grid electricity in agricultural productive uses (i.e., those that drive local economic growth). The EAP focus is on enabling market-led solutions and breaking the silos separating electrification and agricultural development.

Over the next three years, the EAP initiative will foster a pipeline of agriculture-energy projects that demonstrate the impact of collaborative development efforts across the energy and agriculture sectors. Across these activities, the EAP is designed to ensure local ownership of solutions and scaling by partnering widely and sharing insights broadly.

As part of the GEAPP’s broader efforts to bring reliable electricity to 1 billion people by decade’s end, avert 4 billion tons of greenhouse gases and enable 150 million green jobs that generate inclusive economic growth, the EAP will build on existing agriculture and electrification initiatives in Nigeria and then accelerate the deployment and adoption of the most effective solutions for rural communities across the country. The EAP will achieve this by bringing together teams of local partners to validate commercially led business models, demonstrate agricultural appliances and scale proven solutions.

Agriculture is the economic backbone of rural Nigerian communities, where mini-grids, small-scale electricity grids that can power a community independently, are often the least-cost electrification option. Experts estimate that Nigeria’s agricultural sector, which provides nearly one-quarter of the country’s GDP and employs two-thirds of the labor force, has the potential to generate $40 billion in exports. Using electricity to power opportunities like these can drive a virtuous cycle for rural development by increasing incomes and community resilience and improving the financial performance of the mini-grid utility.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria has been very deliberate about leveraging strategic partnerships for optimum impact in off-grid communities across Nigeria. I am confident that the EAP is deliberately designed to open a whole new world of possibilities to farmers and artisans in the agricultural sector,” said Goddy Jedy-Agba, OFR, Minister of State, Nigerian Federal Ministry of Power. “As the renewable energy space improves yearly, we have continued to keep a keen eye on the deployment of programs and solutions geared toward socioeconomic impact in unserved and underserved communities across Nigeria. The EAP is one of those programs.”

“This program encourages the productive use of energy to deepen our objective of organizing and managing the agricultural sector in Nigeria. Leveraging renewable energy technologies for productive use in off-grid communities greatly helps to strengthen production capacity of the average Nigerian farmer in rural communities. The EAP is in line with our mandate at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development toward strengthening agriculture and rural development across the country,” said Dr. Mohammed Mahmoud Abubakar, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“Catalyzing the productive use appliance market is a critical priority on the current REA strategy roadmap, designed to increase economic opportunities in off-grid communities. Beyond providing electricity to the unserved and the underserved, the ultimate goal for the REA is to make sure that the electricity impacts the communities both socially and economically, and agriculture is the chief activity that supports livelihoods in almost all rural communities. That is why we are going beyond powering residential communities to also focus on energizing their agricultural clusters as well,” said Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, managing director and CEO of REA.

“Addressing the energy deficit challenge in sub-Saharan Africa is fundamental to unlocking agricultural productivity, new income-generating activities and acceleration of global decarbonization efforts,” said Justin Locke, managing director of RMI’s Global South Program. “The EAP’s potential to electrify agricultural loads can catalyze scaling the adoption of decentralized renewable energy systems and spur local community development.”

Supporting demand, jobs and small and medium enterprise growth by increasing agricultural productive use at mini-grid sites is critical to uplifting low-income communities in Nigeria. The EAP will directly contribute to these efforts by deploying productive use appliances in rural communities and proving out business models to scale similar interventions at mini-grid sites throughout Nigeria. Equipment like electric grain mills and cold storage can plug directly into existing agricultural value chains once electricity is available.

“Despite incredible advances in renewable energy technologies, we haven’t seen these innovations spread at the speed and scale needed to reach the communities most in need, especially in the agricultural sector,” said Joseph Nganga, executive director for Africa at the GEAPP. “The EAP will bring together farmer organizations, private agricultural companies, donors, equipment manufacturers and governments to surface innovations and embed them within existing value chains. If we are successful, some of these solutions will have wide uptake, helping to catalyze more equitable and sustainable economic development.”

About REA

The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is the Implementing Agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) under the Federal Ministry of Power tasked with the electrification of unserved and underserved communities to catalyze economic growth and improve quality of life for Nigerians. The Agency is responsible for creating an enabling environment for private sector-led projects which includes conducting pre-feasibility assessments, energy audits, enumeration, data analysis, identification of qualified private sector developers, and project stakeholder engagements.

About RMI

RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

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