Food African Projects has distributed farm inputs, including high yield seedlings and pesticides to about 247 farmers drawn from across Kaduna State.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, who witnessed the distribution in Kaduna, expressed satisfaction with the project and reassured of the State government’s constant support and commitment.
The Deputy Governor said the project, which was targeted at women and youth, would go a long way in promoting agriculture value chain development in the State.
According to her, the programme would enhance employment opportunities for the teeming youths and women and as well, have ripple effect of assuring food security and alleviating poverty in the State.
“I am aware that apart from the provision of agriculture commodities and training for our farmers, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, of the United Nations, is also providing a food processing facility and aggregation centres in Jere, Kagarko Local government Area.
“For us, it’s a welcome development which will be of great help to our farmers and also serve dual purposes of helping to overcome the challenges of post harvest losses and most importantly to provide access to market,” she stressed.
Dr. Hadiza explained that, government has been able to draw significant number of agric businesses to the State and also created expanding market for farmers.
“Kaduna State is naturally endowed and we posses competitive and comparative advantage in quite a number of areas, particularly in agriculture”.
She assured that, government will do everything to take full advantage of the opportunity provided along the value chain to develop the State economy by engaging teeming unemployed youths and other citizens to create wealth and reduce poverty.
Dr. Balarabe charged the farmers to put in effective use the training that they received and utilise the farm inputs appropriately.
She also expressed appreciation to the FAO for the laudable initiative, saying, “Our government is in partnership and collaboration because that is the way to go towards realising people-centred-governance agenda. We are also willing to partner to expand to other Local Governments Areas”.
The FAO representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Suffyan Koroma said the Food Africa Project was aimed at empowering youths and promoting innovative Public Private Partnership through more efficient agro food value chain in Nigeria.
He said the programme was an innovative partnership between United Nation, Sustainable Development Goals, FAO, International Labour Organisation and International Trade Centre.
According to him, the project was aimed at promoting replicable integrated solutions to agro food value chain development, food security and nutrition, youth employment and poverty alleviation.
Koroma noted that the project was the first UN joint project in Nigeria being implemented in Kaduna State, saying, the success of the project in Kaduna will encourage FAO to replicate it in other States.
He said under the project, 247 farmers under 15 cooperative farmers groups were profiled by FOA in 2018.
The official added that the profiling has been completed and a data base already established which can be used for other activities.