By Providence Adeyinka
Value Seeds Limited, an indigenous crop seed production, solution, and development company, in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, is set to empower about 10,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria with the distribution of farm supplements.
The collaboration targets that 70 per cent of the participants would be women to selected from 22 local governments in five states, including Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Benue, and Katsina.
The agricultural supplements to be distributed include fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, agrochemicals, Knapsack sprayers, and sachet tomato seeds, in addition to the provision of farm inputs for maize and rice seedlings, the program will also promote financial inclusion, support the improvement of yield, provide access to best agronomical practices, and create linkages to premium markets.
In 2021, according to the organizations, 4,000 women and youth will be provided with farm inputs and training for agronomical practices, especially in maize and rice farming and an additional 6,000 women and youth will be empowered in 2022.
Between May – July 2021, Value Seeds was able to complete the first and second distribution of inputs to participants.
A participant, Mrs. Amina Marcus, noted that the interventions provided by the company through the provision of quality farm inputs and training, has contributed to improving both her farm yield and financial standing.
She stated, “Before 2020, we had challenges accessing quality inputs, especially fertilizers and high yielding seeds.”
Managing Director, Value Seeds Limited, Mr. George Zangir, said it is encouraging to see a large number of Nigerian youth and women participating in the program given how far-reaching the impact will be on the economy.
Zangir stated: “It is good to know that women in these locations are showing great interest in agriculture and especially farming. They are now fully involved in the entire agricultural value chain, which will directly impact our economy. As they say, when you empower a woman, you empower a nation.”
Country Head, Mastercard Foundation, Nigeria, Ms. Chidinma Lawanson, said the intervention for women and youth participating in the initiative is aligned with the vision of the foundation to see young people access dignified and fulfilling work.
“We are delighted to see women and youth harnessing the opportunity to become farmers and successful entrepreneurs. This will ultimately help achieve food sufficiency and grow the economy, particularly at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is severely affecting the global economy.”