Federal Government in partnership with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending and United Nations Development Programme has budgeted more than 8 million dollars to eliminate supply bottlenecks in rice and cassava value chains.
The Managing Director, NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, announced this at the signing of the Nigerian Agribusiness Supplier Development Project document to facilitate the elimination in Abuja on Sunday.
Abdulhameed said that the project which would be implemented through a public-private partnership arrangement had small holder farmers, youths and women as its target beneficiaries.
He said that NIRSAL would contribute 1,558,500 dollars, approximately 20 per cent of the entire funding requirement of 8,066,500 dollars to implement the project.
The managing director said that out of NIRSAL’s contribution, 558,500 dollars would be used for capacity building of the beneficiaries.
Abdulhameed explained that 1,000,000 dollars out of the organisation’s contribution was a non-expendable credit that would be applied under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
He said that the project would focus on improving supply of rice and cassava with timely deliveries, reduce transportation, inventory costs and improve access to growing markets provided by structured off-takers.
According to him, the project will contribute to the development of the country’s economy through increased job creation, foreign direct investment and enhance government income through taxation.
He said: “UNDP in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and NIRSAL will implement the key objectives of this project.
“We intend to support the Sustainable Development Goals which Nigeria has been a signatory to, especially under food security and poverty reduction through job creation and income generation.
“We strongly believe that NASDP will produce clear, rapid, measurable and positive impact on the Nigerian economy.
“This will simultaneously bring about the actualisation of the current administration’s vision of improving the agriculture sector and diversifying the economy.
“Our expectation is that within four years of the implementation of the project, our success will gain NASDP global recognition.’’
Joerg Kuehnel, the Deputy Country Director, Programmes of UNDP, said that the organisation would bring in the methodologies which had been tested in many countries to implement the project.
Kuehnel also said that the project was currently being experimented in Angola, Benin Republic, Cote de’ Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.
He expressed optimism that by the end of the project, the lives of no fewer than 10,000 rice and cassava farmers would have been positively changed for better.
He said: “This kind of project is very rear so we believe it has enormous potential.
“This project will have a huge impact on economic growth of Nigeria because agriculture is one of the key sectors.
“The project will also have a direct impact on the lives of small holder farmers mostly in the North Central and South West Nigeria.
“We are hoping that possibly, we might even support an increase in the export of cassava and rice internationally.’’
Dr Bukar Hassan, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the government would support the project through formulation of policies to facilitate its implementation.
Hassan, represented by Auwal Maidabino, the Director of Planning and Policy Coordination in the ministry, said that the project was in line with the efforts and focus of the present administration to diversify the economy through agriculture.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NASDP is a four year project aimed at empowering more than 10,000 small holder farmers and more than 50,000 lives annually.