The U.S. Government’s agricultural and private sector partnership via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a $2m two-year partnership with the government of Nigeria on agriculture.
Speaking at the launch held at the Embassy in Abuja, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, Maria E. Brewer, said that the two years partnership was with two local companies including Babban Gona and Hello Tractor.
Brewer explained that the partnership was aimed at increasing access to smart tractors, improved seeds, and profitable markets for over 45,000 smallholder farmers across seven states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Over the next two years, Babban Gona will help more than 20,000 small holder farmers in five states increase yield and potentially increase their income up to 30 per cent.
“The success of this partnership will support Hello Tractors sales, while providing 115 young people with an opportunity to build businesses in providing tractor hiring services.
“Improved access to tractor services will allow 24,500 small holder farmers across three states to boost their productivity and gain higher revenues for their households,” she added.
According to her, the U.S. government’s Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation programme, with these partnerships will provide training, financing, and mentoring opportunities to experienced and young agricultural entrepreneurs alike.
The Minister of Agriculture Chief Audu Ogbe at the launch commended USAID for its support for Nigeria at its critical moment while stressing on the need for investment in agricultural sector as the key to economic development.
“There is future in agriculture, if you invest in it you are securing your future, if we don’t invest in agriculture there may not be a place to call our nation in future.
“If we don’t deal with the food challenge, we will never be able to cope with the food challenge,” he said.
The USAID Mission Director in Nigeria, Mr Michael Harvey said that under the Feed the Future initiative, USAID partners with private sector to support smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
According to him through these partnerships USAID addresses development and business challenges by increasing access to improved agricultural inputs and mechanisation, better quality technical advisory services, and expanding market opportunities for smallholder farmers.
It also capitalises on the untapped potential of youth in agriculture and helped build capacity of young entrepreneurs to help grow their businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth in Nigeria.