US Govt Invests $75million In Agric Sector

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The US government, yesterday, said it has invested $75 million (about N2.3 billion) in the country’s agricultural sector, just as it launched agribusiness partnerships with Chi Farms and Niji Foods.

However, against the backdrop of this development the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said that Nigeria’s agric sector is underdeveloped due to lack of capital investment from foreign and local investors.

Speaking at the USAID Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation Initiative in Lagos, Mission Director of USAID Nigeria, Mr. Michael Harvey, said that USAID aims to address development and business challenges to agricultural inputs and mechanization by providing quality technical advisory services and expanded market opportunities for smallholder farmers via these partnerships, noting that the partnerships will also capitalize on the untapped potential of smallholder farmers and small processors to help grow agribusinesses, create secure jobs, and boost economic growth in Nigeria.

Harvey said, “Since 2014, Feed the Future has invested $75 million in Nigeria helping 800,000 Nigeria farmers acquire improved seeds, fertilizers, tools and access to markets.

The Executive Manager, TGI Group, Mr. Johannes Flosbach, stated: “Chi Farms recognizes the need to increase Nigeria’s domestic fish production to meet growing demand and end reliance on imported fish, Chi Farms, under this partnership will train 1,000 smallholder fish farmers in Lagos and Ogun states on new farming techniques, access to credit, and marketing skills to help raise incomes. Farmers will have access to quality juvenile catfish from Chi Farms’ multiple hatcheries, as well as aquaculture management training and financial tools to provide the knowledge necessary to build successful aquaculture businesses.”

Also, CEO, Niji Foods, Mr. Kola Adeniji, said: “Despite the volume of cassava processed in Nigeria and the commercial potential of cassava peel for livestock feed, there is virtually no commercially-available livestock feed made from cassava peel.

“Niji Foods, with the International Livestock Research Institute, with USAID support, is establishing three cassava peel processing centers to address this market gap. They will recruit and train staff on critical operations and business management, not only creating the processing centers but also providing long-term local employment. In addition, they will ultimately hand over partial ownership of the centers to at least three women’s groups.”