Nigerian farmers to benefit from US government – sponsor agric project

Thousands of farmers in Nigeria’s South-west Ondo State will benefit from some agricultural projects, currently being supported by the US government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nigeria.

The flag-off of the Cassava Value Chain intervention will kick-off on 6 August, 2013, with the formal mobilisation of farmers in the Odigbo local government area of Ondo State, a partner in the ‘Public-Private Partnership Project’, Caterena de’ Medici Africa, said in a statement.

According to the statement, received by PANA here on Sunday, the project partners are
USAID-MARKETS 11, CATERINA DE’ MEDICI AFRICA PROJECTS LTD., THAI FARM INTERNATIONAL LTD., the ONDO STATE AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS (ODSADEP), and the ONDO STATE GOVERNMENT.

It said that the project promoters, Caterina de’ Medici Africa Projects Limited (CDMA), championed by Foluke Michael and Charles Adeyileka, are partnering MARKETS II (Maximizing Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprises in Targeted Sites Project), a scheme funded by the USAID in Nigeria but implemented by Chemonics International) for Cassava Farming in Ondo-State through an out-grower scheme.

CDMA, incorporated to promote Agribusiness and Investments in Nigeria, has among its main objectives to make agribusiness work; partnering with government bodies and local authorities to develop agricultural productivity; helping the youth to see agriculture as a profitable business; and developing solid relationship with end-buyers through established markets.

USAID-MARKETS II is the agricultural commodity value chain development project of USAID Nigeria, which is a follow up on project of MARKETS 1 and Bridge to MARKETS II implemented between 2005 and early 2012.

The project, which also enjoys the support of the Ondo State Government, focuses on expanding economic opportunities in the Nigerian agriculture sector by increasing agricultural productivity; enhancing value-added processing, and increasing commercialization through private-sector led and market-driven growth and development.

The project’s aim is to transform Nigerian agriculture in selected areas from low input/output subsistence farming to commercially competitive agriculture.

On methodology, the project starts intervention from the market by determining the quantity and quality required by the market, and then working backwards to mobilise and support farmers to produce what the market requires, the press statement indicated.

The statement said the project does not give direct cash to farmers but facilitates farmers’ access to training, appropriate technology, credit, improved seeds and other inputs required to produce what the market wants.

It focuses on the large population of smallholder farmers with between 1 and 5 hectares of land under cultivation. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of all agricultural plots in Nigeria are less than two hectares in size.

It said that the project would continue to make agro-processors central to the value chain and sector development to increase rural incomes and jobs.

‘The programme shall privilege women, youth, and the very poor by systematically seeking to incorporate these groups into all project activities, It said, adding that the project was also designed to be financially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

MARKETS II, it said, is working with CDMA to access funds through local banks and other lenders, e.g., MFIs, MFBs, and NGOs, to update their systems, staff, evaluation procedures, collateral requirements and the like to facilitate lending to smallholders.

MARKETS II will focus on expanding economic opportunities in the Nigerian agriculture sector by increasing agricultural productivity, enhancing value-added processing, and increasing commercialization through private-sector led and market-driven growth and development.

The aim is to transform Nigerian agriculture in selected areas from low input/output subsistence farming to commercially-competitive agriculture.

 

United States Agency for International Development

 

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