USAID commits $3m on agricultural inputs spending in Nigeria
by HARRISON EDEH, ABUJA
October 22, 2017 | 10:01 pm| | | Start Conversation
The United States Agency for International Development, (USAID),spends $3 million on agricultural inputs system under the Feed-the-Future Nigeria Agro-Inputs Project to develop the agricultural sector.
This was disclosed by the Coordinator, Nigeria Agro-Inputs Project, Kofi Debrah, while explaining the objectives of the project and its impact on agro-dealers and farmers since inception in October 2014, and which ends 2017.
According to Debrah,1, 512 agro-dealers and 4, 000 smallholder farmers in eight States were trained under the project for three years, which their capacity were built and they demonstrated the impact the project made in their business by showing their productivity-enhancing technologies of Urea Deep Placement and soil and crop specific fertilizer blends.
However, he said the challenges in the industry could be tackled when the Fertilizer Quality Control bill was passed into law, especially certifying agro-dealers before they are allowed to produce and distribute fertilizers in order to ensure quality control.
Also in his remarks USAID Nigeria Mission Director, Feed the Future Nigeria Agro-Inputs Activity, Stephen Haykin, said the major issue remains with sustenance of the success recorded through IFDC by the government as the project comes to an end.
Haykin also called on the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure the passage of the fertilizer Quality Control Bill into law as soon as possible to regulate and monitor adulterated fertilizer distribution in the country.
“USAID/Nigeria launched this activity in 2014 to align with the Ministry of Agriculture’s Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, and to help transition the agricultural inputs sector toward a more efficient private sector sales and distribution model.
“The feed the Future Nigeria Agro-Inputs Activity worked with 1,400 agro-inputs dealers and 4,000 farmers to introduce new agricultural technology, including soil- and crop- specific fertilizer blend-based Urea Deep Placement technology. 27 per cent of these beneficiaries were women.
The results were impressive, with rice yields doubling in Kwali Area Council and FCT, and tripling in Omala LA in Kogi State. We would like to thank our implementing partner, International Fertilizer Development Centre, for their dedication and hard work.
He also expressed optimism that that the success recorded will be an ongoing progress and said that, “We are confident that we will continue to see progress.
Together we have laid the groundwork for continued success and it is now time to leverage all of these lessons to achieve the true potential of the Nigerian agricultural sector.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, who was represented by one of the special advisers, Victor Chude, who acknowledged the effort of Feed the Future Nigeria Agro-Inputs assured that the issue of quality fertilizers would soon be rectified.
He said: “I would like to thank IFDC, the project implementation partner, USAID, and the US Government for its continued support for Nigeria’s agricultural development efforts.
“I am aware that quality issues in seeds, fertilizer and agro-chemicals remain, but the government is working round the clock to rectify it. I am happy to inform you that the last hurdle to pass the fertilizer bill into law will be cleared through a public hearing on November 6, 2017. Once that is done, you will see swift action to instill some discipline in the sector.”
In his remarks, an agro-dealer from Kano State, Ismaila Sani, said as a beneficiary of the project, he has recorded significant improvement in his business through the impact made by the intervention.
“We have expanded the scope of our business by facilitating input credit to farmer groups to pay after harvest with cash or kind, and encourage farmers that are not in group to form cooperative societies so that they can also benefit”, he said.
While testifying about the impact of the project for the past three years in his business and family, a farmer and also a village head from Jigawa State, Sadiku Abdul, said he will lead other farmers to the Governor of the State to include the programme together with other policies for the sector in order to sustain it even as the programme comes to an end.
HARRISON EDEH, ABUJA
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