The Green Innovation Centre for Agriculture and Food Sector-Nigeria and under GIZ says its objective is to support about 200,000 smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and income in Nigeria.
The Project Manager coordinator of the Green Innovation Centre Caroline Trimbom stated this at the training organized by the organisaton for Agriculture Journalist on Agricultural Production and Processing Economics in Abuja.
She said the organisation is focusing on certain value chains and states in the country.
“We want to improve the productivity and income of smallholder farmers in Nigeria, this is one of our objectives and our target is 200, 000 smallholders farmers working in rice, maize, Irish potato and cassava. We are in Kano and Kaduna for maize, Irish potato for Plateau State and we do rice in Benue and Nasarawa and Cross River States, and then we do cassava in Oyo and Ogun States”
Trimbom stated that the organisation is also collaborating with up and down stream companies in the identified value chains to improve their turnover and employment.
She noted that GIZ have trained roughly 150, 000 smallholder farmers and is closely monitoring the farmers on the different value chains.
“To reach this number is very important and as you can see very large scale approach and we can make that happen because we are working with Agricultural Development Programmes, ADPs, we are trying to increase their capacity of state extension agents so that they can deliver trainings and to also guarantee sustainability and institutionalization of different training approaches”
She spoke on the challenges; “Our major challenges has been always finance, high quality input. For example, you need an improved and quality seeds, which access are difficult generally, another difficulty is to have finance ready. We are preparing for another agric finance, we are currently working with bank CEOs, they are ready to finance for agriculture”
On when the agric finance will commence Trimbom said the organisation will start its finance programme in November 2018, the budget from the green innovation programme centre is 17 million Euros until 2022 adding that the programme on agric finance is around 3.5 million Euros.
Tribom said the organisation is working together with the government and other relevant stakeholders to increase capacity.
“We are working with state extension agents….But also we are working a lot with private sector organizations. I think generally, if you see along the value chains, we have different intervention plans and it is important to have this view to see agriculture as a business so you don’t increase production without seeing where the market is. So I think this is where the government is already looking at and we are looking at that as important also”
ENE OKWANIHE, Abuja