Target massive wealth, job creation among farmers
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Nigeria braces up for agribusiness breakthrough, the Green Innovation Centers for the Agriculture and Food Sector Program (GIAE) – Nigeria funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has synergised to launch 18 months project to up-scale maize and cassava production in four States.
This was made known Project Manager, IITA, Godwin Atser, in a statement while explaining essence of the project that would lead to massive wealth and job creation opportunities for youth and women in the maize and cassava value chains.
Atser also said the new project will be implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, in the four selected States which include, Kano, Kaduna for maize, and Oyo, Ogun States for cassava value chain.
He further explained that the project will build capacities of smallholder farmers on productivity and farm safety technologies. And create job opportunities for women and youths through the establishment of commercial seed enterprises for retailing of disease-free improved stems, marketing of aflasafe and purdue improved crop storage (PICS) bags an improved agricultural storage bag.
According to him (Atser), the grant addresses three major activity areas which are: (I) integrated pest management (IPM) with a special focus on tackling the presence of the invasive arthropod pest, Fall Army Worm (FAW); (II)aflatoxin and food safety with special focus on training of female maize growers, household caregivers and other actors on food safety and pre-/post-harvest management; and (III)building a cassava seed system where farmers will be involved in the production and sale of quality cassava stems to generate additional income.
He said: “The geographic coverage of the maize value chain is Kaduna and Kano; and for the cassava value chain is Ogun and Oyo.”
Other areas the grant will address is to increase capacity of farmers and extension agents in modern maize and cassava production using digitalized solutions on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices, and other IITA digital tools like the herbicide calculator, AKILIMO, Seed Tracker, and cassava e-market.
Head of Project, Green Innovation Center for the Agriculture and Food Sector—Nigeria, GIZ, Sanne Chipeta, said the collaboration with IITA will assist and add value towards improving productivity and food safety in the value chains, which will contribute to food and nutritional security.
Chipeta, in addition, said the individual activities will help to create new employment and livelihood opportunities, especially for young men and women. She also expressed optimism that the collaboration with IITA would overall add value and create positive results in the maize and cassava value chain.
To execute the project in the target states, IITA, as well as previous projects implemented by GIZ in the target states, will leverage on the knowledge generated by previous and ongoing projects like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II);Ag Results Aflasafe, African Cassava agronomy Initiative (ACAI), IFAD-Zero Hunger Project, Youth in Agribusiness Projects and TAAT Programs; ongoing State and Federal Government-funded agricultural programs including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-Anchor Borrowers Program that is being implemented by several state governments for various value chains.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany with its special initiative “ONE WORLD No Hunger” (SEWOH) wants to make a significant contribution to the reduction of poverty and hunger.
The Global Programme Green Innovation Centers for Agriculture and the Food Sector (GIAE) is part of this initiative including the country module Nigeria. The Country module Nigeria has the following objective: In selected rural areas, innovations in the agriculture and food sector have contributed to sustainable rural development”.
Maize, rice, cassava, and Irish potato value chains (VC) have been selected for their market and innovation potential. The concept of the GIAE follows a holistic approach and places focus on the identification and fostering of innovations, dissemination of know-how and technology solutions, and skills upgrading.