The high potential value of the farming business within Africa cannot be more apparent or overemphasized at this point as the United States Africa Development Foundation recently made yet another investment of over N8.64 billion ($24 million) to boost farmers’ capacity in Nigeria. It is somewhat sad that most Nigerians are unaware of the huge agricultural resources the country possesses and how much the economy can benefit from its proper and intense utilization.
However, the United States has taken note of the great benefit of the agriculture sector to the Nigerian economy and highlighted this fact at an Agriculture mini-fair, organised by the foundation in collaboration with Diamond Development Initiative and stakeholders in the sector, including the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Syminton, the Executive Director, Diamond Development Initiative, Adamu Garba and the President of the United States Africa Development Foundation, C. D. Glin. The Chairman of the Foundation, Mr. Jack Leslie, stated that Nigeria must improve the agricultural sector to meet the food security needs of the growing population.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria stressed the need for the country to take advantage of the youths and women population to grow the agricultural sector, and also the need for the sector to not only export raw materials but also process them which will leverage the sector in transforming more lives. It is another disheartening fact that Nigeria still relies on other foreign countries to process these raw materials which the country produces effortlessly. It is encouraging that the Foundation has pledged its commitment to further drive the development of the sector in Africa, with emphasis on Nigeria through partnership, participation, and promotion of the private sector-led initiative, stressing that agriculture which is one of Nigeria and Africa’s major assets, is indeed the key to its economic development.
The Agriculture mini-fair funded by the U.S. foundation through the local partners was said to be tailored towards showcasing agriculture across Nigeria such as leatherworks from Zaria, Garri from Ikara in Kaduna state; improved local rice from Kebbi State; refined palm oil and fish feed among others, providing mentorship, management as well as monitoring of the project initiated by the foundation. Farmers who are divided into cooperative societies also gained access to more opportunities and markets for their products.
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