The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched two new agribusiness partnerships with Chi Farms and Niji Foods. The event highlighted USAID’s agricultural and private sector strategy using partnerships with government, local organizations and private industry to develop the Nigerian agriculture sector.
Representatives from the federal government attended the event to highlight their commitment to this partnership that is helping to advance agriculture and trade in Nigeria.
Through these partnerships, 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. These 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.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, in Lagos, Michael T. Harvey, Mission Director of USAID Nigeria said, “With Nigeria’s increasing population, these programs are vital to achieving food security and lowering dependency on exports,” adding “Public-private partnerships are a proven way of expanding investment in agriculture, improving both efficiency and productivity.”
Recognizing 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.
However, 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 also 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.
These initiatives are part of the U.S. government Feed the Future program which was launched globally in 2012. 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.